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Warner, Rahul inflict fifth loss on MI

Defending champions Mumbai Indians’ misery remained intact as they registered their fifth loss in as many matches despite Keiron Pollard’s heroic efforts, receiving a 15-run defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last IPL 7 game in the UAE on Wednesday night.

Chasing 173 to win at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, MI lost captain Rohit Sharma (1), Corey Anderson (1) and IPL debutant Ben Dunk (20) inside first six overs with only 32 runs on the board and from there the target was always going to get some getting . While Rohit fell to a trademark inswinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Anderson nicked a looping catch to wicketkeeper Naman Ojha while attempting a scoop and a Darren Sammy delivery brushed Dunk’s pads before hitting the stumps. It seemed all over bar the shouting for Rohit’s men at that time.

However, Pollard and Ambati Rayudu put on 77 in 9.3 overs to put some life into MI’s chase. Pollard carried on his efforts after Rayudu (35) picked out David Warner at deep midwicket off Irfan Pathan. Pollard hit three sixes, one four and two doubles, not to mention a wide, in the 17th over bowled by legspinner Amit Mishra to bring MI within 31 runs of victory off 18 balls. With the odds heavily stacked in MI’s favour, Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled excellent 18th and 19th overs to leave Irfan 19 runs to defend in the last over. The left-arm medium pacer sealed the match in SRH’s favour with the cleaning-up of Pollard (78 off 48 balls, 3x4s, 6x6s) off the first ball. Rohit’s men eventually fell short by 15 runs to hand SRH their second win in five matches.

The eight-team tournament now returns to India with Chennai Super Kings playing Kolkata Knight Riders in Ranchi on Friday.

Earlier, Warner and Lokesh Rahul added 111 runs for the third wicket to help SRH to a solid 172 for 5. However, SRH’s start was far from ideal as captain Shikhar Dhawan nicked a Zaheer Khan delivery straight into the hands of Harbhajan Singh in the slips for six.

MI bowlers, especially Zaheer, bowled with some intensity at the start, also getting plenty of support from their fielders. Zaheer swung the ball viciously and accounted for the dangerous-looking Aaron Finch in his next over, the last ball of the fifth over. Finch (16) gave a simple catch to Dunk at point while going for a cut shot.

Warner looked unconvincing at the start of his innings. While he hit the ball from the middle of his bat, he couldn’t find the gaps with most of his shots resulting in either singles or doubles. Leftarm spinner Pragyan Ojha’s second over, 8th of the innings, changed the status quo.

The third ball of Ojha’s over was way down leg and beat wicketkeeper CM Gautam to reach the boundary. Warner dispatched the next ball over the rope for a six and SRH didn’t look back from there. Ojha gave a repeat of his disastrous bowling in the 15th over, again giving five wides and a six a few balls later.

Verbal arguments, first with Pollard and then with Zaheer, also seemed to rev up Warner a great deal. Rohit’s decision to bowl Corey Anderson in the 19th over raised many eyebrows, taking into account the fact that Anderson doesn’t have a good record in the death overs and that it was his first over of the innings. Anderson got two wickets alright that of David Warner (65 off 51 balls, 1x4s, 4x6s) and Darren Sammy (10 off 4 balls) but also conceded 18 runs.

Malinga ended Rahul’s brilliant innings for 46 off 40 balls (3x4s) in the last over before Naman, who replaced Venugopal Rao for the match, finished off the innings with back-to-back elegant fours through the covers.

Brief score: SRH 172 for 5 in 20 overs (Warner 65; Rahul 46; Zaheer 2/26) beat MI 157 for 7 in 20 overs (Pollard 78; MoM Bhuvneshwar 2/17) by 15 runs

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