Nicholas Pooran (77, 37b, 5×4, 7×6) scored the fastest fifty of Indian Premier League 2020. Youngster Ravi Bishnoi picked up three wickets, yet Kings XI Punjab couldn’t challenge Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Thursday. David Warner’s side won the contest by 69 runs.
Chasing 202, Kings XI lost its top three Mayank Agarwal (9, 6b, 1×4), K.L. Rahul (11, 16b) and Prabhsimran Singh (11, 8b, 2×4) inside the first seven overs.
Pooran caused jitters for Sunrisers as he swung his bat around the park with style. The 17-ball 50 did raise Kings XI’s hopes before he fell to Rashid Khan (3/12), caught by T. Natarajan at backward point. The star leg-spinner also removed Mandeep Singh (6, 6b) and Mohammed Shami (lbw for a duck) to ensure victory.
Batting first, Warner (52, 40b, 5×4, 1×6) and Jonny Bairstow (97, 55b, 7×4, 6×6) had a destructive approach. They spoiled Kings XI’s plans with a 160-run opening stand that set the tone for Sunrisers as it finished at 201/6.
Sunrisers built on the momentum it gained from the first over when left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell leaked 13 runs. Bairstow looked possessed as he unsettled the West Indian with three boundaries — the first through cover-point, then over extra cover followed by a ferocious pull — and in his next over.
Rahul, who has not been ‘keeping of late, had dropped Bairstow on 19 off Mohammed Shami in the fifth over. The full length dive at mid-off was not enough to stop the flat-batted stroke. The missed chance fired up the batter further, and he snatched three sixes off young leg-spinner Bishnoi.
While Bairstow was ruthless, Warner kept the scoreboard moving with the quick singles, fours and ambidextrous improvisations. It was the second time in the tournament that the Australian tweaked the switch-hit stance a bit too wide to play a cut shot like a right-hander. He scored his ninth consecutive fifty against Kings XI.
Rahul looked clueless at one point as Sunrisers cruised at more than 10 an over. He brought Glenn Maxwell back into the attack hoping to slow things down for Warner and Bairstow, but the latter smacked the off-spinner for 20 runs, which included two consecutive sixes and a four.
Kings XI pulled things back in the 16th over. The 20-year-old Bishnoi forced Warner to miscue the slog-sweep off a googly; stationed at long on, Maxwell didn’t even have to move to receive the offering.
Three balls later, he trapped Bairstow in front of the stumps to choke the opponent. Bishnoi picked his third wicket, Abdul Samad (8, 7b, 1×4), to return with handsome figures of 3/29 in three overs. Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman looked ordinary (0/39) but left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh, playing his first game of the season, impressed by removing Manish Pandey (1, 2b) — caught and bowled — and Priyam Garg (0, 1b) — caught by Nicholas Pooran at long-on — in quick succession.