Pat Cummins reveals the brains behind using Shahbaz Ahmed as Impact player against RR in Qualifier 2

Shahbaz Ahmed was brought in as the Impact player in the first innings when SRH was batting. He scored a crucial 18 and then picked up 3-23 with the ball to be adjudged Player of the Match.

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Shahbaz Ahmed celebrates a wicket during the Qualifier 2 match between SRH and RR in Chennai.

Sunrisers Hyderabad made it to their third IPL final after defeating Rajasthan Royals in the second qualifier at Chennai. After being thrashed in the first qualifier by Kolkata Knight Riders in Ahmedabad, Sunrisers made a superb comeback to show their character.

When SRH posted 175-9 batting first, it seemed like a below par score as dew was expected to make a significant impact in the second innings. But surprisingly, there was no dew which allowed the spinners to dominate the game in the second innings.

The Royals were 65-1 in the eighth over and Yashasvi Jaiswal was going strong at one end. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed came in to bowl his first over and took just five balls to make an impact as he removed Jaiswal for 42. In the next over, Abhishek Sharma got the big wicket of Sanju Samson to leave RR with two new batters at the crease.

Shahbaz got two more wickets in his next over, including the big wicket of Riyan Parag. He finished with excellent figures of 2-23 in 4 overs to tilt the game towards his team. Another left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma also contributed with 2-24 in 4 overs.

Pat Cummins reveals the brains behind using Shahbaz Ahmed as Impact player

After the win, Sunrisers' skipper Pat Cummins revealed that he brought Shahbaz Ahmed as the impact player on the advice of the team's head coach Daniel Vettori. Shahbaz scored 18 and picked up 3 wickets to be adjudged Player of the Match. Cummins heaped praise on his bowling unit, especially the two left-arm spinners, for the turnaround in the middle overs.

"That was Vettori's choice, left-arm orthodox and wanted as many left-arm orthodox as possible. That was a surprise, tried to stick one out of him with a couple of right-handers and he bowled beautifully and those two won it with their bowling in the middle overs," Cummins said after the match.

"We knew our strength was our batting and we wouldn't underestimate the experience we have in this squad, it's a dream having Bhuvi, Nattu and Unadkat, makes my job easy," the SRH captain added.

Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma haven't bowled much this season but stood up when their team needed them the most. The left-arm spin duo finished with 5-47 in 8 overs and changed the complexion of the game. T Natarajan and Pat Cummins bowled excellently in the death to deny any miracle for the Royals.

Also read: Star RR player Fined for Breaching Code of Conduct in Qualifier 2 Against SRH

Sunrisers Hyderabad will now face Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2024 final on May 26 on the same ground. SRH will have a big challenge ahead of them as they lost to KKR on both the occasions they have played with them so far this season.

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