Mohali: Thisara Perera hit a stunning counter-attacking half-century to help Sunrisers Hyderabad stage a remarkable fightback and pip Trinidad & Tobago by four wickets in the Champions League T20, here, on Tuesday.
Chasing a stiff target of 161 runs, Sunrisers rode Perera’s unbeaten knock of 57 (32 balls) to start their campaign with a win that came with three balls to spare. He struck four fours and as many sixes.
Perera’s knock meant Sunil Narine’s remarkable spell of 4/9 in four overs went in vain at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
After Perera and Darren Sammy (15) clobbered Rayad Emrit for 23 runs in 17th over, Sunrisers needed 21 in the last three overs. Two wickets, that of Sammy and Ashish Reddy, in the 18th over bowled by Narine, made it 19 off 12.
Twenty four-year-old Perera managed a boundary off Ravi Rampaul to bring it down to seven off six. Leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who surprisingly did not get to bowl, made up with the bat as he struck Navin Stewart for a four and the winning six, a pull over deep midwicket, to seal it for Sunrisers.
Captain Shikhar Dhawan was pleased with the effort of Perera.
The following are excerpts
Shikhar Dhawan: It was a great game of cricket… I enjoyed the performance of both the sides. There were a few nervous moments in the end. But I am glad that we could pull off a win.
We didn’t field that well and dropped a couple of catches too. So that is one area where we need to improve. We should have restricted them to 150. Hopefully, our bowlers will put up an improved show in the upcoming matches.
It was amazing batting from Perera… The way he was hitting sixes was amazing.. He hit ball cleanly and his timing was excellent today. He bowled very well too. His accuracy helped us to restrict the opposition to 160.
Denesh Ramdin: We were about 10 runs short today… I think Dwayne Bravo got out at the wrong time… Had he been at the crease a little longer, things would have been different. The fact that we couldn’t score off Steyn’s last three balls also didn’t help matters. We need to work on that.
We tried to get Perera out and we knew how important his wicket was… But he played magnificently today… He stole the show with both bat and ball. Sammy also played a cameo.
Thisara Perera (MoM): I think a lot of Sri Lankans must be watching this match back at home. I’m proud of my achievements as an all-rounder.
Every time I get an opportunity, I try to make the most of it. I like playing under pressure… I like to take control of things and I am really happy that I could steer my team to victory.
Darren Sammy: Perera’s was one of the best innings I’ve seen in a while. I enjoyed his batting today.
It always feels nice when you start your campaign with a win. Hopefully, this win will give us a lot of confidence.
We enjoy each other’s company and revel in each other’s success. We have always performed as a unit. Even a small contribution matters in our team. We work as a team
If our strike bowlers fail to deliver, Perera and I just bowl straight and stick to our basics. I think keeping it simple does the job for us.