IPL 2024: Cummins all praise for Abhishek after Hyderabad grab second spot

Chasing 215 for victory against Punjab, Hyderabad reached the target with five balls to spare at their home

By AFP

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Abhishek Sharma of Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrates his half-century against Punjab Kings. — IPL
Abhishek Sharma of Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrates his half-century against Punjab Kings. — IPL

Published: Sun 19 May 2024, 10:11 PM

Sunrisers Hyderabad ended the IPL league stage in second behind table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders after they beat Punjab Kings by four wickets on Sunday.

Former champions Hyderabad, led by Pat Cummins, edged out Rajasthan Royals for second spot on net run-rate after the final league match between Rajasthan and Kolkata was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled in Guwahati.


Chasing 215 for victory, Hyderabad, who are already among the top four teams to have made the playoffs, depended on Abhsihek Sharma's 66 to reach the target with five balls to spare at their home.

"We've had a lot of fun and played some really great cricket," said Cummins. "It's satisfying and exciting (to be in the play-offs)."


Kolkata and Hyderabad will face each other in the first qualifier on Tuesday with the winner moving to the final on May 26 in Chennai.

The loser will have another shot at making the final when they play the winner of the eliminator in the second qualifier.

Third-placed Rajasthan, who have been winless in their last five matches, will play Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the eliminator on Wednesday in Ahmedabad.

Left-handed Abhishek, who has been a breakout young Indian star in this edition with 467 runs including three half-centuries, took charge after Travis Head departed for a first-ball duck.

"He (Abhishek) is amazing. I wouldn't want to bowl to him," Cummins said of his team's player of the match. "It's scary as he plays with freedom, not only against pacers but also against spinners."

He reached his 50 in 21 balls and hammered five fours and six sixes in his 28-ball blitz to set up the chase.

Abhishek put on an attacking stand of 72 with Rahul Tripathi, who smashed 33, before Nitish Kumar Reddy and Heinrich Klaasen steadied the innings and hit back.

Klaasen smashed 42 before he got out in the 19th over and Sanvir Singh steered the team home.

Punjab, who exited the play-off race early and extended their wait for a first IPL title, posted 214-5 as Prabhsimran Singh hit 71 off 45 balls to lay the foundations for the total.

Prabhsimran put on a key stand of 54 with South Africa's Rilee Rossouw, a left-handed batsman who hit 49, to set up the batting attack.

Rossouw kept up the charge after Prabhsimran's departure in the 15th over as he smashed three fours and four sixes in his 24-ball knock.

Jitesh Sharma, who stood in as captain after England's Sam Curran returned home after the previous win, steered the team past 200 and ended the innings with two sixes in his unbeaten 32 off 15 balls.

Left-arm medium-pace bowler T. Natarajan stood out with figures of 2-33 in his four overs.

In the second match of the day at Rajasthan's adopted home ground in Guwahati, unrelenting rain kept the players off the field until a seven-overs-a-side game was planned.

Kolkata won the toss and elected to field first but another spell of rain finally forced officials to call off the match.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Punjab Kings by four wickets.

Punjab Kings 214/5 in 20 overs (Prabhsimran Singh 79, Rilee Rossouw 49, Atharva Taide 46, Jitesh Sharma 32 not out; T Natarajan 2/33)

Sunrisers Hyderabad 215/6 in 19.1 overs (Abhishek Sharma 66, Heinrich Klaasen 42, Nitish Kumar Reddy 37, Rahul Tripathi 33; Arshdeep Singh 2/37).

Playoffs and final

May 21

Qualifier 1

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

Ahmedabad

May 22

Eliminator

Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bengaluru

Ahmedabad

May 24

Qualifier 2

Loser of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Eliminator

Chennai

May 26

Final

Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Qualifier 2

Chennai

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