Gujarat Lions have been in this situation twice before. With this IPL showing a trend of successful chases, Gujarat had failed to put up a strong score against Sunrisers Hyderabad on the two previous occasions they have met. Both times Hyderabad won convincingly, first by ten wickets and then by five.
Facing the same opponents for the third time on Friday, Lions failed once again in a bid to bat Hyderabad out of the match.
The 162/7 is Gujarat’s best score against Hyderabad. But on a Kotla wicket, defending such a total looked a tough ask. Sunrisers ran away with a four-wicket win with skipper David Warner leading by example. The Australian opener hit a 58-ball unbeaten 93 with 11 fours and three sixes. They will take on RCB in the final on Sunday.
What went wrong for Gujarat
For starters, Lions did employ a different strategy. They sent uncapped Eklavya Dwivedi to open alongside Brendon McCulllum hoping to have more experienced hands during the slog overs.
Dwivedi jumped out to Bhuvneshwar early on to indicate Lions were looking to get off to a flier in the Powerplay. But in a bid to be brave, the Lions were reckless in their shot selection. Dwivedi’s upper cut off Bhuvneshwar’s short delivery went straight into thirdman’s hands.
On a day when Hyderabad missed the services of Mustafizur Rehman due to a hamstring niggle, Trent Boult, who got his first game this year, proved expensive but removed Raina in the fourth over.
McCullum was taking his chances and if he had support at the other end, Lions would have certainly scored much more than the 38/2 after six overs of Powerplay.
For a brief period, Dinesh Karthik batted alongside the former New Zealand captain and the two of them took the score from 19/2 to 63/2. A little more patience could have had the Lions in a different situation. Just as when the Lions started to look settled Karthik ran himself out.
Another big blow came in the 18th over when Aaron Finch, batting on 50 off just 31 balls failed to make contact with a full tossed delivery and lost his timber. He and Ravindra Jadeja had literally lifted the innings at the end and had 51 runs in the bag. Finch, unlike his Hyderabad innings, where he had to change his game, batted freely and picked and chose bowlers.