Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have secured their place in the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 final following a convincing 36-run victory over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Qualifier 2 match held at Chennai. Batting first, SRH posted a challenging total of 175 runs, thanks to a mix of calculated batting and vital contributions from their middle order. The bowlers then took center stage, delivering a performance that spectacularly curtailed the Rajasthan Royals’ chase.

Winning the toss, Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson opted to field first. The Sunrisers Hyderabad, known for their aggressive batting throughout this season, came out with similar intent. Despite losing a couple of wickets in the powerplay, they maintained their attacking stance. The Royals’ pacer, Trent Boult, made early inroads by dismissing Abhishek Sharma, who began with a six over mid-wicket and a subsequent boundary before Boult induced a mistimed shot from him, with the catch being taken in the off-side.

At the other end, Travis Head played cautiously, taking his time to settle in while Rahul Tripathi launched a counter-offensive. Tripathi showcased his aggressive flair irrespective of the bowler, striking boundaries off R Ashwin and Boult. In a brief but impactful cameo, Tripathi smashed 37 runs off just 15 balls, propelling SRH’s score in the early overs before being caught at short third-man off a slower delivery from Boult.

Boult’s spell was far from over as he soon accounted for SRH captain Aiden Markram, who edged to Yuzvendra Chahal at short third-man, leaving SRH at 57 for three after five overs. This brought Heinrich Klaasen to the crease alongside Head, and the duo focused on rebuilding the innings. Head found his rhythm in the sixth over, driving Sandeep Sharma for a boundary, while Klaasen cleared the ropes against Chahal, indicating SRH’s intention to keep the board ticking.

The middle overs saw a few quiet overs that built pressure on SRH batsmen, resulting in Head’s dismissal as he edged Sandeep Sharma to third-man. However, Klaasen took the responsibility to guide the innings thereafter. In the 14th over, SRH faced another setback when Avesh Khan dismissed Nitish Reddy, followed by the immediate loss of Abdul Samad. These quick wickets saw SRH slipping to 120 for six.

Klaasen stepped up post these dismissals, accelerating the run rate and anchoring SRH’s lower order.

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. He reached his half-century off 33 balls and tilted the momentum back towards SRH. Shahbaz Ahmed, brought in as an Impact Player, chipped in with a valuable 18 runs, culminating SRH’s innings at 175 for nine. Among RR’s bowlers, Boult and Avesh Khan bagged three wickets each, while Sandeep Sharma picked up two scalps, keeping SRH from running away with a massive total.

Chasing 176, Rajasthan Royals got off to a promising start with Yashaswi Jaiswal leading the charge. Jaiswal took on Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the very first over, hitting a six over mid-wicket, signalling his attacking intent. While the introduction of Pat Cummins saw RR lose Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jaiswal continued his assault, finding the boundary thrice and clearing it once in Bhuvneshwar’s subsequent over. RR ended the powerplay at a solid 51 for one, with Jaiswal well set.

The middle overs saw SRH’s spinners turn the tide in their favour. Shahbaz Ahmed broke the partnership by dismissing Jaiswal for a well-made 42 off 21 balls, caught in the deep in the eighth over. Abhishek Sharma then further pegged back RR by claiming the wicket of Sanju Samson, who was caught at deep mid-wicket by Markram.

The pressure intensified as SRH’s spin duo of Shahbaz and Abhishek tightened the noose around RR’s innings. Shahbaz’s double breakthrough in the 12th over saw Riyan Parag and R Ashwin falling cheaply, leaving RR reeling at 80 for five. Despite Shimron Hetmyer being introduced as an Impact Player and Rovman Powell’s presence, RR struggled to find momentum against SRH’s disciplined attack.

Amidst the tumbling wickets, Dhruv Jurel stood tall for RR, showcasing commendable resilience. Jurel scored a fighting fifty off just 26 balls in the penultimate over, highlighting his potential under pressure. Yet, his effort was not enough to change the course of the game as RR continually lost wickets, eventually falling short by 36 runs.

SRH’s spinners—Shahbaz and Abhishek—played pivotal roles, sharing five wickets and conceding only 47 runs in their combined eight overs. This monumental performance ensured SRH’s advance to the final where they are set for a rematch against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Chennai on Sunday, promising an exciting culmination to the TATA IPL 2024 season.

By IPL Agent

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