Before the match on Sunday, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody had talked about the depth in batting and how Yuvraj Singh was a vital cog.
As Sunrisers wobbled in their chase of a tricky 180 set by Kings XI Punjab, Yuvraj, on his home ground, got going. In the end, it was redemption for the homeboy as Sunrisers completed a seven-wicket win to cement their place as table toppers and brightened their chances of making the playoffs.
Yuvraj walked in to a standing ovation with Sunrisers needing 83 off 48 balls. He didn’t disappoint the sparse crowd as he remained unbeaten on 42 with the help of three fours and equal number of sixes to guide the team home. He was helped by cameos from Deepak Hooda (34) and Ben Cutting (18 no).
Sunrisers started the chase in the right earnest with skipper David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan adding 68 in eight overs.
Dhawan was run out for 25, while Warner went on to complete another half-century. The Kings XI bowlers had it under control with Sunrisers needing 94 from nine overs. Warner, who scored 52 off 41 balls, was unlucky as he backed too deep into the crease and was bowled.
Yuvraj stayed calm as he picked his targets. His first one was Mohit Sharma. With the ball coming on nicely, Yuvraj carted the medium pacer for a six and four off consecutive balls in the 18th over. Ben Cutting got a six and the equation was down to 20 off 12 balls.
Yuvraj shared a vital partnership of 42 with Deepak Hooda (34 off 22 balls) and an unbroken 41 with Cutting to guide Sunrisers to a convincing win.
With nine needed off the last over, Yuvraj carted Mohit for a six and then took a single to seal the match. On a day when Ashish Nehra hobbled off the pitch with a suspected calf injury, Yuvraj’s return to form will be a heartening sign for Sunrisers as they look to firm up strategy for the playoffs.
Earlier, Hashim Amla made full use of the placid wicket to score 96 off 56 balls to guide Kings XI to a competitive 179.
After Murali Vijay departed early, Amla along with cameos from Wriddhiman Saha and Gurkeerat Singh Mann ensured their bowlers had a target to defend.
Kings XI scored 58 off the last five overs as the Sunrisers’ bowlers failed to restrict the flow of runs. Mustafizur Rahman, Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar all went for runs.
Bhuvneshwar took a wicket each in the 18th and 20th overs to finish with two for 32.