The marking end to IPL’s qualifying stage reached it’s penultimate stage with Gujarat Lions and Sunrises Hyderabad taking on each other in a knockout semi-final which follows 1.5 months of sheer hard work and consistent quality cricket, the final was just a step away.

In this eliminator, the toss was won by the Sunrisers who opted to bowl first – a decision that raised a few eyebrows if we consider that the usual trend at Feroz Shah Kotla is always to bat first due to the slowing up of conditions in the second half of the match. Nonetheless, the decision was to chase which has otherwise been fruitful for teams in IPL 2016.

Gujarat Lions vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Date 27 May 2016
Venue Feroz Shah Kotla
162/7 (20)   163/6 (19.2)
Sunrisers won by 4 wickets

The Sunrisers were forced to make the huge change of including Trent Boult as their most consistent bowler in Mustafizur was out injured due to a slight hamstring niggle. Gujarat also made one change of bringing in Kaushik for Jakati.

Gujarat having been put into bat had a wobbly start to their innings, losing 2 wickets for 19 runs. The Lions made a change to their batting order, demoting Finch in the middle order by sending in Dwivedi as an opener- a move that didn’t formulate as per plans as he departed for 5 runs.

The Lions captain in Raina had yet another quiet IPL game with 1 off 5 balls – leaving Gujarat in bit of a trouble. Karthik who has got Gujarat out of such situations a few times this season was again to the rescue with some gameplay in accordance to the situation, keeping the scoreboard in check.

Karthik made 26 off 19 before a run out ended his stay at the crease. McCullum fell shortly after for 32 in 29 – quite against the run of play and while he had a rather quiet IPL by his standards, having spent quality time at the crease the moment to hit the big shots was just around the corner and that’s just when he got out.

The innings got some stability through Aaron Finch – whose been clearly the most consistent for the Lions this season in spite of a few injuries keeping him out of a few matches. Finch made a 32 ball 50 and a few lusty blows from Jadeja and Smith in the last few overs guided Lions total to 162 in 20 overs.

Sunrisers Hyderabad in all the matches that they’ve played have looked like a force to be reckoned with whenever David Warner has fired. Today the dependency of Sunriser’s qualification relied heavily on the shoulders of Warner.

To make matters worse for Hyderabad, they lost Dhawan for a duck and that too in form of a run out. At 33, Hyderabad lost their dependable all rounder in Henriques who was pivotal to getting innings some stability. The trend of losing wicket didn’t stop as Yuvraj, Hooda and Cutting all went cheaply and Hyderabad were looking out of the match at 84-5.

In such a case scenario, the only way out was if Warner played an innings of sheer compassion that was to be guided by aggressive running which under Delhi’s extreme heat isn’t easy as one’s energy gets soaked up quickly but not for someone of Warner’s quality.

In spite of wickets falling at one end, Warner kept going and he looked visibly disappointed at the fall of Naman Ojha and the strategic time-out that followed, Warner had many suggestions to share with coach in Tom Moody and looked visibly in dismay.

Post the time-out, the 2 Hyderabad batsmen in Warner and Bipul Sharma looked to play aggressive play, counter-attacking to be apt. The strategy fired hard at Lions and what the fans witnessed was sheer genius at the end of Warner, supported equally by Sharma’s 3 sixes.

Hyderabad required only 5 runs in the last over off Praveen Kumar and Warner’s 2 fours in 2 balls, finishing with 93 in 58 balls guided Hyderabad to the finals, in which they’ll take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Lions end a campaign at which they’ll look back with positive memories and some constructive –this being their first IPL season, the VIVO IPL 2016 for them was a very positive turnout.

GL vs SRH Squads for 27 May 2016 Qualifier 2 Match

Gujarat Lions

Suresh Raina (C), Akshdeep Nath, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi , James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik (W), Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Sarabjit Ladda, A Mishra, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye

Sunrisers Hyderabad

David Warner (C), Ashish Reddy, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Trent Boult, Ben Cutting, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Eoin Morgan, Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Nehra, Naman Ojha (W), Vijay Shankar, Karn Sharma, Barinder Sran, Tirumalasetti Suman, Aditya Tare, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh

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