Hyderabad: James Faulkner’s second five-wicket haul of the season went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat spot-fixing embroiled Rajasthan Royals by 23 runs to brighten their chances of booking a play-offs berth in the IPL here on Friday.
Paceman Faulkner, who became the first bowler in IPL history to grab five wickets twice in a season, helped restrict Sunrisers to 136 for nine but his side failed to chased down the target on a slow pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
The home side produced a disciplined bowling show to restrict Rajasthan, who were playing their first match after three players were found allegedly involved in IPL spot-fixing scandal that broke out yesterday, to 113 for nine to secure their ninth win.
Amit Mishra returned with impressive figures of two wickets for just eight runs from his four overs. Thisara Perera, Karan Sharma and Dale Steyn also grabbed two wickets each.
For Rajasthan, who were playing their last league match, Kevon Cooper top-scored with 26 while captain Rahul Dravid contributed 25.
With the win, Sunrisers jumped to fourth spot with 18 points from 16 games. They play their last league match here on May 19 against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rajasthan, who already have booked a play-offs berth, remained on third with 20 points from 16 matches. Rajasthan got to a steady start with Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane (12) sharing 39 runs for the opening wicket in 7.3 overs but they struggled after the duo departed in quick succession.
Dravid was out while running for a single of a misfield by bowler Mishra and Sunrisers captain Cameron White broke the stumps in a flash with the visiting side skipper well short of the crease. Seven balls later, Rahane departed as he holed out to Shikhar Dhawan at deep cover.
Next man in, Sanju Samson (5) and Shane Watson (11) struggled to get the runs on a slow pitch and Rajasthan could reach just 44 for two at the halfway stage. Samson looked promising as he opened account off the first ball he faced but pressure kept mounting as he and Watson failed to find the boundaries.
Samson was out in the 12th over while trying to find the boundary. The youngster played a big shot but failed to clear long-off fielder Steyn.
Run rate climbed over 11 an over and Rajasthan’s chase virtually ended with in-form Watson and Stuart Binny (8) perishing in the space of three balls in the 14th over.
Watson, on whom Rajasthan’s fortunes depended a lot, struggled throughout his 20-ball stay at the crease and a big hitter like him could not find a single boundary. He was caught by Sammy at long on.
Mounting pressure also caught up with Binny and he completely lost the plot against Perera whose delivery he tried to play across only to miss it and see his wickets go cart-wheeling.
There was still a glimmer of hope with Brad Hodge (8) still there in the middle though the asking rate had shot up to more than 15 by the end 16th over. Steyn, however, clean-bowled Hodge with a beauty before taking the wicket of Kevon Cooper in the last over to claim his second wicket.
Earlier, Faulkner grabbed five wickets for 16 runs as Rajasthan restricted Sunrisers to 136 for nine after the home side opted to bat.
Faulkner dismissed both Sunrisers openers Parthiv Patel (2) and Shikhar Dhawan (1) in second over to give a dramatic start in the match before returning to scalp the wickets of Darren Sammy (23), Biplab Samantray (55) and Dale Steyn (0) after the home side opted to bat.
Shane Watson and Siddharth Trivedi chipped in with a wicket apiece for Rajasthan who are playing their first match after three of their players, including India pacer S Sreesanth, were found allegedly involved in the sensational IPL spot-fixing scandal.
For Sunrisers though, it was a fairly good recovery after they were five for three in the third over itself with Samantray rescuing them with a 46-ball 55, studded with six fours and a six.
Sunrisers began their innings in a disastrous manner with both their batsmen dismissed in the second over with just four runs on board, off the bowling of Faulkner.
Of his first delivery of the innings, Faulkner induced an inside edge on Parthiv who tried to steer the ball to third man only to find his stumps rattled. Five balls Dhawan was out in a soft dismissal as he hit straight to the point fielder Ajinkya Rahane.
Captain Cameron White added to the Sunrisers’ woes as he holed out to Trivedi of the bowling of Watson for a duck. At that stage, the Sunrisers were five for three in third over.
Three wickets down with the score still in single digits, Hanuma Vihari and Samantray tried to repair the innings and understandably they looked for ones and twos only.
Vihari was out in the 11th over after the duo shared 44 runs from 7.5 overs for the fourth wicket. They scored just three fours in their partnership. West Indian captain Sammy gave the Sunrisers the acceleration with a total. He smashed Watson for six to take 14 runs in the 14th over before hitting another maximum off Kevon Cooper in the next over.