New Delhi, May 27: Skipper David Warner produced a majestic 93 as he single-handedly led Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) into the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 final after securing a four wicket win over Gujarat Lions (GL) in the Qualifier 2, in New Delhi on Friday (May 27).
Chasing a tricky 163, Sunrisers overhauled the target with four balls to spare as Warner anchored the chase with his responsible 58-ball knock, embellished with 11 four and three sixes.
Hyderabad will now challenge Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday as the two teams will compete for their first ever IPL title.
While maximum Sunrisers batsmen cut a sorry figure, Warner showed his class and super cool temperament as he never let the innings fall apart.
Wickets kept tumbling but Warner had dug his heels and found amazing support in Bipul Sharma, who came up with a sizzling unbeaten 27-run knock under pressure.
Bipul, who had also troubled rival batsmen when Lions batted, took pressure off his captain with his timely big shots. His sixes off Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni played a crucial role in turning the tide in Sunrisers' favour.
Bipul, who played for India A in 2010, always had batting credentials but Friday was the day to show his worth as he added 33 runs with Warner in their unfinished partnership for the seventh wicket.
Needing five runs off last over, Warner blasted a four in the first ball off Praveen Kumar to level the scores and then took a single to finish the match comfortably.
Earlier, Aaron Finch (50) rescued his side with a fighting half-century, leading Gujarat to a competitive 162 for seven with useful contribution from Brendon McCullum (32), Dinesh Karthik (26) and Dwayne Bravo (20).
Losing Shikhar Dhawan (0) and Moises Henriques (11) early was not the ideal start for the Sunrisers. Dhawan was run out while Henriques hit straight to Eklavya Dwivedi in the covers off Dwayne Smith.
Warner was still there and giving him company was a confident-looking Yuvraj Singh as the Sunrisers managed 46 for two in Powerplay overs.
Sensing that spinners would do well, Lions skipper Suresh Raina introduced himself early into the attack and also handed the ball to young Shivil Kaushik.
Warner hammered Raina for a straight six, that broke the glass facade on the first tier, to raise fifty of the team and found another boundary on a mis-field from the substitute fielder Andrew Tye.
As expected, the Sunrisers pacers had made an impact in the Powerplay overs, conceding only 38 runs but the good thing for the Lions was that McCullum was still there. The Kiwi batsman looked in good touch and easily dispatched a few bad balls to the boundary ropes.
Dinesh Karthik (26) also looked solid and managed to stabilize the innings. They did not dominate the bowling but ensured that Lions have a platform where they could go for the kill.
Bipul Sharma created a chance to break the partnership but Cutting mis-timed the jump to take the catch offered by Karthik.
Worse, the ball went for a six after slipping through the hands of the fielder. However, Karthik could not cash on the life and was run out needlessly after a miscommunication with McCullum.
Finch pressed the accelerator pedal straightaway, hitting Barinder Sran for a four and a six after his side was 67 for three at half-way mark. Bipul created another chance off his bowling but this time Sran dropped Finch.
However, the left-arm spinner finally got the wicket when McCullum hit one straight to Bhuvneshwar two balls later. Cutting added to the Lions misery by removing Smith who cut straight to Shikhar Dhawan.
The Lions were now reeling at 83 for five in 13 overs. Lions never found the scoring easy but thanks to Finch, Jadeja and Bravo they had something to fight for.