Krunal picked up the first three SRH wickets to fall to put the batting side under immense pressure. Mayank Agarwal (8) was caught extra cover. Anmolpreet Singh (31) was beaten for pace and trapped lbw. Very next delivery, SRH skipper Aiden Markram (0) was cleaned up as the ball spun past his blade. Hyderabad were 55/4 when Harry Brook (3) was stumped off Ravi Bishnoi (1/16).
Rahul Tripathi and Washington Sundar added 39 for the fifth wicket but they never threatened to take on the bowling. Tripathi was out for 34 off 41 as he ramped Yash Thakur and was caught by a diving Amit Mishra at short third man. Sundar (16 off 28) was then caught at long on while trying to take on Mishra (2/23). Abdul Samad (21 not out off 10) hit Jaydev Unadkat for a couple of sixes in the last over to take SRH past 120.
Chasing a small target, Lucknow openers added 35 before Kyle Mayers (13) was caught, pulling Fazalhaq Farooqi to the fielder in the deep. Deepak Hooda (7) perished to a superb return catch by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Krunal (34 off 23) and LSG skipper KL Rahul (35 off 31), however, added 55 runs for the third wicket to kill any hopes of SRH’s fight back.
The partnership was broken when Krunal edged Umran Malik behind the wickets. Rahul and Romario Shepherd (0) fell to Adil Rashid off consecutive deliveries. However, Nicholas Pooran (11 not out off 6) hit a maximum off T Natarajan to bring up the winning runs.
Speaking after being named Player of the Match, Krunal said, “Very good day at the office I can say. Runs, wickets - everything is hard-earned. Everything is special. More right-handers in their lineup - knew I would be bowling four overs. This year I'm in a good headspace. Once you have clarity up there, things fall in places. I'm very process-driven, don't think about results. I took a break from cricket for a few months because I was just playing the white-ball formats, so wanted some time off to work on my bowling.
On not being considered a big turner of the ball, he added, “What happened last two-three years was I kept getting wider and wider. Whatever I did in the last 3-4 months - getting taller and getting the ball to turn away, it is all coming out really well. People say I don't turn the ball, so that answers it I guess (Markram’s wicket).
--By A Cricket Correspondent