If Shahbaz Nadeem and Wriddhiman Saha were your choices of those who would be key to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) making the play-offs, crystal gazing would be your thing. Nadeem played five games in IPL13, Saha one less but they helped restrict Mumbai Indians (MI) to 149/8 , a target SRH cruised to in 17.1 overs without losing a wicket to nudge Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) out of the top four on net run rate.
From 81/2, MI slipped to 81/4 when Nadeem dismissed Surya Kumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya in four deliveries of the 12th over. The first needed a smart stumping from Saha before Pandya was caught by Kane Williamson with an effort that showed Kiwis could fly. Nadeem deserved credit for going wide to Yadav and using the slowness of the wicket to get Pandya to play early. When Rashid Khan dismissed Saurabh Tiwary, Saha taking a smart catch, MI were 82/5 after 12.1.
Jason Holder too contributed showing how crucial SRH irregulars were to them winning four of their last five games and erasing after-effects of that poor loss to Kings XI Punjab. An injury replacement to Mitchell Marsh, Holder has taken 10 wickets in five games and hit a 10-ball 26 in the win against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Used at the expense of Jonny Bairstow, Holder’s presence has made SRH look more balanced.
In Sharjah on Tuesday, Holder dismissed Kieron Pollard in the last over after being swung for a six. In the 19th over, Pollard had smacked Thangarasu Natarajan for three sixes meaning MI could have got 15 more had Pollard survived.
Not that it would have mattered given how Saha (58; 4×7; 6×1) and David Warner (85; 4×10; 6×1) batted as dew set in. MI rested Jaspreet Bumrah and Trent Boult and as conditions became difficult for bowling, SRH showed their openers were enough.
Saha hit Nathan Coulter-Nile for a six over mid-off and followed it up with a lofted boundary over mid-on. Batting in the Bairstow-Warner mode, Saha hit two more fours in the next over, bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni playing his first match of IPL13.
Warner joined in, hitting James Pattinson for three fours with two cuts and a pull in the fourth over and SRH never really looked back.
Injured and out for four games, MI skipper Rohit Sharma returned but lasted seven balls before becoming Sandeep Sharma’s first victim. Sandeep Sharma got two more wickets off wide full tosses, getting Quinton de Kock and Ishan Kishan bowled off inside edges. It was that kind of a night for SRH. The only other time SRH won by 10 wickets was in 2016 and it came in a season they won the IPL.