Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) has clinched a spot in the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 final after a decisive 36-run victory over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the high-stakes Qualifier 2 match held in Chennai. Batting first, SRH posted a competitive total of 175 runs, which their bowlers successfully defended, marking an unforgettable performance.

Invited to bat by RR after losing the toss, SRH stuck to their aggressive game plan, a strategy they have consistently adhered to throughout the TATA IPL 2024. Despite losing a few early wickets during the powerplay, their intent to dominate remained unchanged. Trent Boult emerged as a key troublemaker for RR in the initial overs. Although Abhishek Sharma started off on a high note, smashing a six over mid-wicket followed by a four, Boult struck swiftly, inducing a misjudged shot from Sharma that was caught on the off-side.

Travis Head took his time to settle in while Rahul Tripathi at the other end was on an attacking spree. Tripathi’s aggressive approach saw him play confidently against any bowler. When R Ashwin came to bowl his second over, Tripathi began with a slightly edgy four through third-man. Boult didn’t escape unscathed either, as Tripathi continued his assault with boundaries, hitting Ashwin for multiple fours and a six in the fourth over and Boult for a six and a four shortly after. However, Boult eventually had his way, as Tripathi, trying for another boundary, mishit a slower ball, landing in the hands of a fielder at short third-man. Tripathi’s quickfire 37 off 15 balls had given SRH crucial momentum.

Boult was far from finished, soon dismissing Aiden Markram who edged a delivery to Yuzvendra Chahal at short third-man. This dual strike left SRH at 57 for three after five overs. Travis Head and Heinrich Klaasen then took on the mantle of steadying the innings. While Head initially struggled to find his rhythm, he eventually scored his first boundary off Sandeep Sharma in the sixth over. Klaasen joined the action, hitting Chahal for a six over mid-wicket in the eighth over. However, a couple of quiet overs followed, and Head succumbed to a tempting delivery from Sandeep, guiding it to third-man.

Klaasen spearheaded SRH’s efforts in the latter half of their innings. Despite continuous strikes from RR’s bowlers aiming to rein them in, Klaasen rallied the batting side.

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. Avesh Khan’s double strike in the 14th over, which saw Nitish Reddy and Abdul Samad dismissed, added pressure. Yet, Klaasen’s resilient innings lifted SRH from 120 for six, reaching a defendable total of 175 for nine by the end of 20 overs. Klaasen’s personal milestone came in the 18th over, as he reached his fifty off 33 balls. Shahbaz Ahmed, brought in as an Impact Player, chipped in with valuable 18 runs. For RR, Sandeep (two for 25) and Avesh (three for 27) were the standout performers alongside Boult who took three wickets.

As RR began their chase, opener Yashaswi Jaiswal appeared in excellent form, hitting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six in the very first over. However, SRH’s bowling lineup soon made its mark. Pat Cummins achieved an essential breakthrough by dismissing Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Jaiswal kept the scoreboard ticking and truly shone in the sixth over, collecting three fours and a six off Bhuvneshwar. By the end of the powerplay, RR’s score was 51 for one, with Jaiswal looking formidable.

However, SRH’s spinners turned the game around during the middle overs. Shahbaz dismissed Jaiswal for 42 in the eighth over, catching him in the deep. Soon after, Abhishek Sharma also made an impact, as Samson’s lofted shot was caught by Markram at deep mid-wicket. The wickets continued to tumble, and Shahbaz further tightened SRH’s grip on the match with a double strike in the 12th over, removing Riyan Parag and Ashwin.

RR’s batting lineup began to crumble at 80 for five in 12 overs. Attempted resurgence by Shimron Hetmyer, brought in as an Impact Player, and Rovman Powell, were stifled by SRH’s disciplined bowling attack. Dhruv Jurel was the only RR batter to stand his ground, showcasing his fighting spirit with a commendable fifty off 26 balls in the penultimate over. Nevertheless, it was too late to alter the match’s trajectory, as SRH was already firmly on their path to victory.

Shahbaz and Abhishek’s impactful bowling, claiming five wickets between them and conceding only 47 runs in eight overs, played a pivotal role in SRH’s success. This triumph has set up an exciting rematch of Qualifier 1, with SRH slated to face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final showdown for the IPL 2024 title in Chennai on Sunday.

By IPL Agent

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