Mohali's hunger for victory appears almost insatiable. The nerve-wracking victory over Mumbai did not drain their enthusiasm, nor did they allow complacency to creep in even after the confirmation of a semi-final berth. They got down to business in their usual ruthless manner and notched up a six-wicket win against Hyderabad on Friday.
The 176-run target was more than a decent total and demanded some caution and respect from teams batting second. But Mohali's response smacked of sheer arrogance, what with Shaun Marsh and Kumar Sangakkara showing scant respect to the bowlers and bringing up the first 50 in just 23 balls by unleashing a flurry of boundaries and sixes.
Marsh set the tempo, but soon it was Sangakkara who was calling the shots. The wicket keeper batsman had been out of action for more than two weeks, but after watching him butcher the Hyderabad attack, one felt he had always been in the thick of action. The left-hander looked in tremendous hurry and brought up a sizzling half century in just 25 balls, studded with seven boundaries and two sixes. He fell exactly for 50 and soon Marsh followed suit.
Pragyan Ojha accounted for Yuvraj Singh (17) and when Marsh (60) and Luke Pomersbach (13) too fell in quick succession, the visitors suddenly appeared to be in with a chance. But Mahela Jayawardene, who has been a finisher for Mohali, again played the role to perfection with Piyush Chawla to bring up the victory.
Earlier, Hyderabad put up one of their better performances. They had plunged to a situation where any change could have only been for the better. Out of the contention and pride the only thing to play for, perhaps it was this "we have nothing to lose" knowledge that breathed new life into this hitherto dispirited outfit.
One could sense the positive approach right from the start when Yuvraj put them in. Though Adam Gilchrist started off with a cheeky boundary off Sreesanth, he soon followed it up with more authentic strokes. At the other end, Herschelle Gibbs finally came good. The aggressive South African scored a strokeful 44 and was followed by aggressive half centuries from Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma. Sri Lankan import Chamara Silva did not let the momentum slip and helped his team reach a fighting total.