New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) Sunrisers Hyderabad's stand-in skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar elected to bat first on a sticky Wankhede Stadium pitch on Sunday with the expectation to defend a total. But all of that went to waste when Punjab introduced left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar.
Brar's introduction swung the match in Punjab's favour, breaking the back of Hyderabad's batting by picking up the wickets of Rahul Tripathi, Abhishek Sharma and Aiden Markram.
Coming into this game, Brar had picked just one wicket in four matches but here against Hyderabad, he turned the match for Punjab.
But Brar didn't have the best of starts in IPL 2022's final league match. Abhishek Sharma, his team-mate in domestic cricket for Punjab, pulled his second ball on the backfoot over deep midwicket for a six in his first over which brought nine runs for no wicket.
"When I saw the pitch, I realised that it could support spinners and was happy. Spinners have been taken for runs in this season and I felt that I wanted to do well on this track. My aim is always to bowl well in my decided areas and perform under pressure. My focus is on my skills," said Brar on bouncing back in his next three overs after a not-so-great start.
In his next over, Brar bounced back by ending a 47-run partnership between Sharma and Rahul Tripathi by having the latter sweep a down leg delivery straight into the hands of short fine leg.
Brar returned in his third over to take out Abhishek, who tried to loft over long-on off a full ball. But the left-hander never got the elevation and Livingstone jumped in the air to take the catch with both hands just inside the advertising rope.
Brar picked up his third wicket of the night in his final over by using turn and bounce to get Aiden Markram forward, and Jitesh Sharma from behind whipped the bails in lighting quick speed when the right-handed batter's backfoot strayed out of crease.
"That ball had turn and bounce. I was seeing that he (Markram) was playing on the back foot and wanted to draw him forward. So I felt happy to pick up such a wicket," were Brar's words on how he planned to get Markram out.
Though Washington Sundar and Romario Shepherd produced late fireworks to take 58 runs off the last four overs to take Hyderabad past 150-mark, that wasn't enough to heal the damage done by Brar in the middle overs.
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