One of the top contenders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) produced yet another clinical performance to defeat the struggling Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) by four runs in a thrilling finish at the ACA-VDCA Cricket stadium, Visakhapatnam on 10 May.
After deciding to bat on the sticky surface, Hyderabad were rocked by Pune's Adam Zampa who took six wickets for just 19 runs - the second best figures in the IPL history. The visitors lost six wickets for just 41 runs in the last five overs and succumbed to a below-par total of 137 runs.
RP Singh provided an early breakthrough to Pune after dismissing dangerous David Warner (11) in the fourth over. Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson added 46 runs for the second wicket to steady the innings for their side.
However, Ravichandran Ashwin broke their partnership after forcing a mishit from Dhawan - who was batting at 33 - in the 11th over. Despite Dhawan's dismissal, Hyderabad got a move on from Yuvraj Singh who smashed a six and four off successive deliveries from Thisara Perera in the 15th over.
The left-handed batsman was looking to accelerate the innings when Zampa came back into the attack to dismiss him for 23 runs in the 16th over. Perera continued to leak runs as Moises Henriques smacked him for consecutive fours in the 17th over.
In the 18th over, Zampa got rid of Williamson (32) and Henriques (10) off successive deliveries to rattle Hyderabad's innings. After his spell of three overs, Zampa looked impressive with figures of 3-11. But, the leg-spinner wasn't done yet.
MS Dhoni tossed the ball to Zampa for the final over where the Aussie took three wickets at the expense of just eight runs. After getting hammered for a six on the first delivery, Zampa came back strong to dismiss Deepak Hooda (14), Naman Ojha (7) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1) in the same over.
Out of the 24 deliveries in his spell, Zampa bowled 11 dot balls and conceded just one six. This was the first five-wicket haul for the Australian in T20 cricket. It was also the second six-wicket haul in IPL history after Sohail Tanvir's 6-14 for Rajasthan Royals (RR) against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2008.
The target of 138 runs looked achievable, if not easily gettable. But, Pune's batting unit eventually failed to follow the exemplary bowling performance of Zampa. George Bailey (34) and Dhoni (30) were the top-scorers for the hosts, while three of their batsmen got out without scoring a single run.
Hyderabad's consistent bowling unit, once again, got the opposition on the backfoot. Ashish Nehra (3-29) was the catalyst in his side's thrilling last-gasp win, while economical spells from Kumar (1-20) and Barinder Sran (1-26) also came in handy.
The victory has now propelled Hyderabad to the top in the IPL points table with seven wins in 10 matches. On the other hand, Pune continue to remain in the bottom-half of the table with just three victories in 11 games so far.