The unusual opening pair of Uthappa and Stokes came out to bat after Warner won the toss and chose to bowl first. Uthappa was playing some crisp shots and Stokes too had just hit a couple of consecutive fours, before a direct hit by Holder sent Uthappa back to the pavilion. Samson was looking in fine touch as he hit successive fours off Sandeep Sharma. Ben Stokes had slowed down considerably and couldn’t hit another boundary in his innings. Both got out within a space of four deliveries as Samson was bowled by Holder and Rashid cleaned up a struggling Stokes.
Smith and Buttler were at the crease then and would have hoped for a blast at the end with the score at 105-3 at the end of 15 overs. Those hopes seemed to be dashing quickly as Shankar got rid of the dangerous Buttler. Parag impressed with a quickfire cameo as he struck 14 off Natarajan’s 3 balls but perished to Holder in the next over. With Steve Smith also gone, onus was on Archer and Tewatia to finish the innings on a high, and Archer did manage a four and a six against Natarajan in the final over to push their score to 154.
The target in sight was very gettable, but Jofra Archer wreaked havoc with the new ball as he picked up his “bunny” Warner yet again. Bairstow was just starting to dominate with a six and a four against Rajpoot before Archer cut short his innings with a fine inswinger.
With two of their best batsmen back in the hut, one would have expected SRH to bat slowly. But that was not going to be the case as Manish Pandey counterattacked from the word go. He was severe on Kartik Tyagi as he slammed him for 26 in his first two overs. Vijay Shankar was taking his time as he took 18 balls for his 10 runs at the end of 10 overs, with the team’s total being 79-2. Spin had proved an effective way of slowing things down thus far, but Shankar played two gorgeous inside out to negate that threat as well. Archer bowled a 2 run over, and his figures at the end of 12 overs read 3-0-8-2.
Only 37 were required from the last five overs, it was a cakewalk for SRH with Manish Pandey already crossing fifty and Shankar also looking good. Smith went to his trump card Archer but Shankar took on him with three consecutive fours. The well settled Pandey was hitting sixes for fun as he smoked Tyagi and Stokes out of the park. Shankar hit the winning runs and also got to his fifty as SRH achieved the target with 11 balls to spare.
-- Jatin Shad