Spinners plot Hyderabad win over Rajasthan to reach IPL final

CHENNAI, India (AP) — Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma spun Sunrisers Hyderabad into their third Indian Premier League final after defeating Rajasthan Royals by 36 runs on Friday.

Hyderabad will meet Kolkata Knight Riders in the final on Sunday. They were the top two teams in the league.

Left-arm spinners Ahmed (3-23) and Sharma (2-24) choked Rajasthan to 139-7 in reply to Hyderabad's 175-9.

Sunrisers won their only title in 2016 and haven't been to the final in six years.

Ahmed made the biggest difference. After opener Travis Head was out for 34 off 28 balls at 99-4 in the 10th, Ahmed replaced him as the impact substitute and led the lower order with 18 runs.

Then he plunged Rajasthan into batting trouble on the slow pitch when he stopped Yashasvi Jaiswal on 42 off 21 and dismissed Riyan Parag and Ravichandran Ashwin in the same over.

Rajasthan was 79-5 in the 12th over, and Sharma finished off the Royals' hopes.

Sharma had already removed captain Sanju Samson for 10 and came back to bowl Rajasthan impact substitute Shimron Hetmyer on 4. Sharma added two catches and they had the game won after 19 overs, when the run rate was beyond Rajasthan.

Earlier, Rajasthan pace bowler Trent Boult struck three times in three overs in the power play and Yuzvendra Chahal held some brilliant catches at short third man.

Rahul Tripathi's breezy 21-ball 37 ended when he was deceived by a slower bouncer from Boult and his ramp shot landed in the hands of Chahal. Aiden Markram, in his comeback game, lasted only two balls when Chahal took another low catch off Boult. Hyderabad slipped to 57-3 in the fifth over.

Avesh Khan (3-27) and Sandeep Sharma (2-25) bowled steadily in the middle overs before Heinrich Klaasen struck four sixes in 50 off 34 to give Hyderabad a defendable total.

Rajasthan's reply saw Dhruv Jurel offer a fighting unbeaten 56 off 35 balls but the Hyderabad spinners had already dismantled the top order.

Ahmed and Sharma used the conditions to perfection after captain Pat Cummins dismissed out-of-sorts opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore for a struggling 10 off 16.

Jaiswal holing out in the deep off Ahmed ignited Rajasthan collapse as four wickets were lost for 14 runs.

Sharma clean- bowling Rajasthan’s last hope Hetmyer ended a perfect night for Hyderabad.


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