The Punjab Kings ended their campaign on a winning note, crushing an already demoralized Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets in an inconsequential IPL league final on Sunday.
Batting first, Sunrisers Hyderabad went just 157 for 8 on a good batting run. But that was never going to be enough as Liam Livingstone made mincemeat of an unfortunate SRH attack, scoring 49 on 22 balls, and also hitting the coveted 1,000th six of the tournament. Shikhar Dhawan (39 from 32 balls) and Jitesh Sharma (19 from 7 balls) were also big contributors to the team’s cause as the chase ended in just 15.1 overs.
The Punjab Kings, who have not featured in the play-offs since their last appearance in 2014, finished sixth while the Sunrisers finished their big-spending IPL in eighth place in the 10-team competition. For Livingstone, it was all about breaking big sixes again as he hit five in all, while Dhawan helped himself to two fours and two sixes.
It was Jonny Bairstow (23 from 15 balls), who immediately attacked Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Washington Sundar, with a flurry of limits to set the tempo. This helped Dhawan play his build-up game as Punjab maintained their all-out attacking philosophy even when the Sunrisers dropped a few goalkeepers on the pitch. Worst was Washington Sundar’s blooper when Livingstine tried to hit Jagadeesha Suchit against the turn and offered a cart to the point.
There were too many misses on the pitch with Roamrio Shepherd’s 15th overtaking for 23 points. Earlier, the Punjab Kings bowlers showed a lot of discipline, limiting the SRH to 157 for 8 from 20 overs. Arshdeep Singh (0/25 in 4 overs) celebrated his first India call-up with another parsimonious spell, but it was his State team colleague Harpreet Brar (3/26 in 4 overs), who was the choice of bowlers with wickets from Priyam Garg, Rahul Tripathi and Aiden Markram.
With four qualifiers already decided on Saturday, little more than academic interest remained in the game and the ‘orange army’ actually looked jaded and more like going through the motions while battling before improving their scores in the last overs. SRH’s best hitter of the season, Abhishek Sharma (43 on 32 balls) got a start again but should have converted him to a big one that didn’t happen.
A solemn-looking Tripathi (20) achieved a personal milestone of 400 runs for the season, but the disappointment of not making the national team was ingrained in his body language as he didn’t managed to connect the big hits. Brar didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and kept it mostly on the stumps, smothering opposing hitters for runs.
It was left to Romario Shepherd (26 on 15 balls) and Washington Sundar (25 on 19 balls) to get the Sunrisers past the 150-point mark as they both used the long grip to good effect in their 58-stroke. partnership at the sixth wicket from just 4.5 overs. In fact, over 50 runs came in the last four overs as Nathan Ellis (3/40 in 4 overs) erred from length despite a few consecutive wickets he got as part of the market.
Ellis scored a good hat-trick which Bhuvneshwar Kumar dodged to find himself short on the very next delivery.
First post: STI