Punjab Kings 160 for 5 (Livingstone 49*, Dhawan 39, Farooqi 2-32) beat Sunrise Hyderabad 157 for 8 (Abhishek 43, Shepherd 26*, Brar 3-26, Ellis 3-40) by 5 wickets
Punjab Kings ended their season on a high note, registering a thumping five-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the dead rubber at the Wankhede Stadium.
Sunrisers’ sedate start
On a used pitch, Sunrisers openers Priyam Garg and Abhishek struggled to force the pace even against the new ball. After only nine runs came off the first two overs, Garg tried to flick Kagiso Rabada through midwicket but ended up closing the bat face early, and Mayank Agarwal gobbled up the leading edge at mid-off. By the end of four overs, Sunrisers were 24 for 1. The sixth over, bowled by Nathan Ellis, though produced 11 runs, with Tripathi picking up a six and Abhishek a four.
Brar’s three-four dents
Abhishek welcomed Brar into the attack by pulling his second ball over deep midwicket for a six. But Brar struck back in his next over when Tripathi swept one straight to short fine leg. Soon after, Brar snared Abhishek too. The batter tried to launch a fuller delivery over long-on but failed to clear a leaping Livingstone.
If those two wickets were the result of the batter trying to take him on, the third was a left-arm spinner’s delight. Brar pitched one on a good length to Markram and beat the outside edge with turn and bounce. Jitesh Sharma whipped the bails off to find the off-balanced batter out of his crease.
Both Shepherd and Washington had started slowly – at one stage, Shepherd was on 1 off five balls and Washington 3 off seven. But the floodgates opened in the 17th over, with the duo taking 17 off Ellis with the help of two fours and a six. In the next over, Washington hit Rabada for a six and a four before the bowler gifted five wides. In all, 19 came off that over.
The final over, bowled by Ellis, was the most eventful. Shepherd hit the first ball for a six over long-on before Ellis dismissed Washington and Suchith off consecutive deliveries. On the last ball, Bhuvneshwar tried to sneak in a bye but was run out at the keeper’s end. Ellis, however, had overstepped, which meant there was still one ball left. Umran Malik lost his off stump on the free hit but collected a bye, just making his ground at the bowler’s end.
Kings tee off
Bairstow seemed to have come out with the intent of hitting every ball to the boundary line. In the first two overs, he hit five fours, albeit two of them came via edges. But he soon ran out of luck. He tried to hit Fazalhaq Farooqi across the line but missed the length ball and lost his off stump.
Shahrukh Khan was promoted to No. 3. On the second ball he faced, he pulled Bhuvneshwar over deep midwicket before clipping Farooqi for four in the next over.
Shikhar Dhawan had crawled to 12 off 11 balls but now he too joined in, jumping out of his crease against J Suchith and hitting him over deep midwicket for back-to-back sixes.
Livingstone finishes it off in a hurry
Shahrukh tried to take on Malik as well. He drilled his first ball down the ground for four but holed out to a back-pedalling mid-on two balls later. Agarwal came in at No. 4 and straightaway copped a blow to his rib cage, courtesy of a 144kph lifter from Malik. His painful stay came to an end in the next over when he pulled Washington straight to deep midwicket.
That brought Livingstone to the crease. He started by pulling Washington into the deep-midwicket stands before thumping Malik for successive sixes. At the other end, Dhawan was struggling for timing and eventually fell to Farooqi for a 32-ball 39.
Incoming Jitesh Sharma started in a similar manner to Livingstone. Off his first five balls, he hit three fours and a six. However, he didn’t last long and Suchith had him caught at long-on.
At the end of 14 overs, Kings needed 25 off 36 balls. But Livingstone was in a hurry, and was helped in equal measure by Sunrisers’ sloppy fielding. He hit Shepherd for two sixes and two fours in a 23-run 15th over to all but seal the game.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo