Skipper David Warner struck an unbeaten 85 as Sunrisers Hyderabad sealed the final play-off spot in the Indian Premier League with a 10-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Tuesday.
Warner put on an unbeaten opening stand with Wriddhiman Saha, who made 58, to drive home Hyderabad’s chase of 150 in 17.1 overs in Sharjah and knock Kolkata Knight Riders out of the Twenty20 tournament with a better run rate.
Hyderabad won their third straight league match to finish third in the table ahead of Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore with the two teams scheduled to meet in the eliminator.
The result of the last league game was disappointing for Mumbai’s returning captain Rohit Sharma who said he was “fit and fine” at the toss after missing four games due to a hamstring injury.
“Not the day we want to remember. Probably the worst performance of the season for us,” Sharma, whose number one team will meet second-placed Delhi Capitals in the first qualifier on Thursday, said after the loss.
On his return after the injury break, Sharma said: “I was happy to be back. It has been a while. I was going through some tough times. I am looking to play a few games here and see what happens.”
Sharma, who was left out of India’s squad for the upcoming tour of Australia, added the hamstring is “absolutely” fine.
He was out early after facing just seven balls, falling to paceman Sandeep Sharma for four. Mumbai though went on to score 149 for eight after a crucial 41-run cameo from Kieron Pollard.
In reply, the left-right batting combination of Warner and Saha took the attack to the opposition who had rested their top pacemen in Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.
“I pride myself on giving the team a great start. That is my duty and responsibility,” Warner who hit 10 fours and one six in his 58-ball knock, said.
“Fortunately we haven’t had to chase a big total.”
On the eliminator on Friday, Warner said: “RCB are a very good side. They have a lot of dangerous players. We beat them in the 2016 final. Another do-or-die game. Hopefully we can carry the momentum from this game.”
The winner of the eliminator will then meet the loser of the first qualifier to fight for a place in the final on November 10.