All-rounder Thisara Perera smashed a quickfire half-century as Sunrisers Hyderabad staged a remarkable fightback to pip Trinidad and Tobago by four wickets in the Champions League Twenty20 in Mohali, on Tuesday.
Chasing a stiff target of 161 runs, Sunrisers rode on Perera's blazing innings of 57 not out from 32 balls, to register a four-wicket victory with three balls to spare. The Sri Lankan all-rounder, who struck four fours and as many sixes, also played his part with the ball as he claimed two for 26 in four overs.
Perera's knock meant Sunil Narine's remarkable spell of four wickets for nine runs in four overs which included 16 dot balls and Darren Bravo's 44-ball 66 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.
The 24-year-old Perera managed a boundary off Ravi Rampaul in the penultimate over 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 edged pacer Navin Stewart for a four before pulling a short ball over deep square leg to take Sunrisers to victory.
Sunrisers started the chase in earnest with captain Shikhar Dhawan at the helm. But, 25 balls into the innings, the hosts lost their first wicket in Parthiv Patel as Narine
struck with his first delivery, having the batsman caught at short third man.
The in-form Dhawan was done in by a slower ball form Stewart, who took the return catch gleefully. The left-hander hit three fours and a six to score 23 from 18 balls.
J P Duminy and Hanuma Vihari added 25 runs for the third wicket before the experienced South African left-hander was run out by Rampaul in what was another blow for Sunrisers.
As the overs went by, the chase was only getting difficult for the Sunrisers. But they knew that they were in with a chance as long as Perera was at the crease.
The Sri Lankan samshed Emrit for a four and a six in the 13th over and did the same two overs later. Perera then hit Rampaul over deep midwicket for a maximum as Sunrisers started to inch their way back into the contest.
Sammy was not far behind as he launched into Emrit, as the Indian side smashed 23 runs off the medium pacer in the 17th over to script a turnaround.
After Sammy's dismissal, Perera took it upon himself to see his side through. Despite Narine's splendid bowling, the Sunrisers held their cool in the final few overs to start of the competition with a hardfought victory.
Earlier, sent into bat, Bravo produced a sensational exhibition of brutal hitting during his 44-ball 66, which powered Trinidad & Tobago to a challenging 160 for eight.
Bravo smashed five fours and four sixes during his stay in the middle.
Towards the end, skipper Denesh Ramdin made 21 off 15 balls, while Navin Stewart helped himself to 17 off 13. Even as Bravo went on a rampage, it was surprising to see Sunrisers captain Shikhar Dhawan not using leg-spinner Karan Sharma.
Trinidad lost an early wicket when Lendl Simmons got out to Dale Steyn while going for an expansive shot off the first delivery of the match.
But the visitors recovered from the first-ball jitter through Evin Lewis (22) and Bravo's 49-run stand.
While Bravo was a bit watchful to start with, Lewis went for his shots and found the boundaries at will against the likes of Steyn and his pace bowling partner Ishant Sharma.
Bravo got into the act with a big six over long-on off Ishant. Lewis then struck Hanuma Vihari for two fours, before Bravo sent the strapping Ishant for two more boundaries.
Runs were flowing freely when Ishant struck, having Lewis caught behind with a short ball that moved away slightly.
The show then belonged to Bravo as he launched into an onslaught that left the Sunrisers bruised and battered.
Image: Thisara Perera