Players of Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrate the of Karun Nair (unseen) of Rajasthan Royals during their IPL 7 match in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)
Sunrisers Hyderabad kept themselves in the top-four race as they crushed Rajasthan Royals by 32 runs on the back of an inspiring bowling performance in their Indian Premier League clash in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Hyderabad looked down and out after posting a modest 134 for nine but they came out all guns blazing, forcing their rivals into submission with their fiery bowling, led by young India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/14).
Kumar provided the first breakthrough in the third ball of the RR innings and then took three wickets in the 18th over to deny the rivals any sort of comeback.
His senior pace colleague Dale Steyn (2/33) took two wickets while Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan took a wicket apiece in a collective bowling effort to bowl out Rajasthan for 102 with one ball to spare.
The result meant that Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson's superb hat-trick went in vain and Hyderabad moved to fifth from seventh in the points table.
It was a pathetic batting display by Hyderabad as more than the Rajasthan bowling, it was poor shot selection of the Hyderabad batsmen that let them down.
None of the SRH players, except skipper Shikhar Dhawan (33), applied himself as Watson (3/13) and Rajat Bhatia (3/23) shared six wickets between them.
It was a split hat-trick for Watson as he dismissed Dhawan in the last ball of his first over and then sent back Moises Henriques (9) and Karn Sharma (0) when he returned for his second over later in the innings.
In his last match also the burly Australian had taken three wickets in one over to trigger a KKR batting collapse.
However, Hyderabad made a match out of it with their spirited bowling effort. Both pacers and spinners bowled their hearts out in troubling the Rajasthan batsmen.
Pacers Bhuvneshwar and Steyn were disciplined with their line and length while Karn and Amit Mishra used the spin-friendly conditions to the fullest.
Kumar gave a perfect start by having Ajinkya Rahane (0) out in the third ball and Steyn had Karun Nair (12) caught behind.
Karn bamboozled in-form Sanju Samson (16) with a peach of a delivery and then Henriques got the prized wicket of Watson by having the rival skipper caught behind.
Hyderabad were right back in the match and were in fact calling the shots. David Warner made it 78 for five by sending back Stuart Binny on a direct hit.
Steven Smith (22) and seasoned Rajat Bhatia had a humongous task to get the team out of rut as a demoralised Rajasthan needed 54 runs off the last five overs.
Steyn dented RR hopes by dismissing Smith and Bhuvneshwar saw the back of James Faulkner and Rajat Bhatia (4) in successive balls to make the writing clear on the wall.