Zampa’s 6/19 could not bail out the Supergiants : A team, whose bowler returned with the analysis of 4-0-19-6 and restricted the opposition to a small total of 137 runs in 20 overs, was expected to go on to ‘cross the line’ and win the match.
However, what happened at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium, Vishakapatnam, the home ground of Royal Pune Supergiants (RPS) since IPL games had to be shifted out of Maharashtra according to a court order, surprised one and all present in the stadium and many more who followed the proceedings on the television.
The visitors, Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH) won the toss and elected to bat. Taking to Simon Doull at the toss, the RPS, skipper, M:S Dhoni that he was happy to bowl first.
Dhoni’s bowlers lived upto to their skipper’s call. Pacer RP Singh and the offie, Ravichandran Ashwin, restricted SRH to 64 runs for the loss of David Warner (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (33), in that order in 10.2 overs.
Thereafter it was the show of the 24-year old leggie from New South Wales, Adam Zampa. He literally ran through the next six wickets, giving away just 19 runs in his spell of 4 overs, his best T20 bowling performance.
He accounted for Kane Williamson (32), Yuvraj Singh (23), Moises Henriques (10), Deepak Hooda (14), Naman Ojha (7) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1).
At one point of time, after the departure of the openers, it looked as if Williamson and Yuvraj would put up a good partnership that might take SRH to a big total. But Zampa has different ideas.
In the 16th over he bowled a googly to Yuvraj, who tried to lift it to the moon. Yuvi got the height but not the distance and ended up giving a simple catch to Saurabh Tiwari at long-off.
A couple of overs later, Zampa bowled a leg-break wide outside the off-stump and Williamson tried to reach for it. He wanted to lift it over the long off region but lost balance and ended in slicing a catch to Rajat Bhatia, who took it running to the left from long-off.
With Williamson gone, SRH ended their innings with 137 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in 20 overs.
The chase of 138 runs at an asking rate of 6.90 runs an over, was no big deal for RPS with the batting strength they had.
With their star opener, Ajinkya Rahane being accounted for in the very third delivery, even before both Rahane and RPS could open their account, spell doom on them.
They also lost the other opener, Usman Khawaja, in the last ball of the fourth over, when he was ‘run out’ trying to complete a second run. Hooda’s throw from deep mid-wicket at the striker’s end reached faster and wicket-keeper Naman Ojha dislodged the stumps before Khawaja could place his bat inside the crease.
The third wicket partnership between George Bailey (34) and Ashwin (29), promoted up the order, produced 49 runs in 8 overs. This was the best partnership for RPS.
Another useful partnership of 40 runs in 4.3 overs for the sixth-wicket between MS Dhoni (30) and Thisara Perera (17) could not help RPS to reach the target as their innings folded up with 133 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in 20 overs, losing the match by 4 runs.
For SRH, Ashish Nehra was the most successful bowler with the analysis of 4-0-29-3.
With this win, SRH move to the numero uno position in the Points Table with 14 points from 10 games.
RPS are virtually out of the tournament with just 6 points from 11 games and 3 more games to be played in the league stage.
Even though, he ended up on the losing side, Adam Zampa, was awarded the Player of the Match for his wonderful efforts with the ball.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Zampa said, “It has not sunk in. Disappointing end to the game. There is also pressure and batsmen come hard. Legspinners are always in the game. Dhoni just picked up the ball and threw the last over to me. MS just told me Hooda”s strength was leg side and asked me to bowl outside off. It worked. We have obviously had a hard season but Flem is keeping it together. Playing the IPL has been a different experience.”
Losing skipper, MS Dhoni said, “Losing close games; it is a tough one to digest. There are a few things not working in our favour. The three games we have won comfortably, the ones we have lost have been in the last over. New-ball bowling was good today and we did well to restrict them to 137. If you compare their bowling attack to ours, they can exploit the conditions more. We lost Jinx quite early and kept losing wickets. Zampa was fantastic. We wanted him to feature in the initial XI, but the combination was tough. We probably played with the best XI in the first three matches. Zampa is a good find and he is somebody who can give us stability. This was one game where we kept getting wickets.”