Pat Cummins has been left celebrating in the rain, having passed the latest demanding examination of his captaincy skills by steering his Sunrisers Hyderabad team into the playoffs of the Indian Premier League.

The Australian skipper, who has consistently proved his leadership acumen by guiding the national team to the World Test title, World Cup crown and an Ashes retention, has also flowered, internationally, as captain of the ambitious franchise team in Hyderabad this term.

He had been hoping that his Travis Head-inspired outfit would roar into the final-four knockout stage by beating the already eliminated Gujarat Titans on Thursday, but the weather did the job for him, a persistent downpour prompting a wash-out at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.

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The one point awarded was enough to ensure they became the third team to officially qualify for the playoffs, and after reaching 15 points in the league, they could still finish among the top two should they beat Punjab Kings in the last league game and Rajasthan Royals lose to table-topping Kolkata Knight Riders.

Cummins and Head, who’ve both had a standout tournament, will join their fellow Aussie, KKR’s Mitchell Starc in the knock-out stages.

Starc’s team, with 19 points, are guaranteed to finish top of the table, with Rajasthan having also booked their spot.

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins walks off the rain-hit stadium at Hyderabad, knowing Sunrisers are in the playoffs. Credit: AP

But four other teams — Royal Challengers Bengaluru, with Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green in their ranks, Delhi Capitals, who have Jake Fraser-McGurk and David Warner, Lucknow Super Giants, who feature Marcus Stoinis, and champions Chennai Super Kings are still in the race for the fourth and final place.

It’s been a fine achievement already by Cummins, who has proved worth every cent of his $3.67 million price tag, with both his inspirational presence and the way he has freed up his side to attack with complete freedom having helped make Sunrisers surely the most exciting team to watch in this edition.

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Fans who follow the IPL hailed Cummins after the result.

“Captain Pat Cummins supremacy 🫡… He said he wanted to see an aggressive SRH and he did exactly that …,” one fan wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Another said: “Pat Cummins emerges from the dressing room, and huge cheers engulf the stadium in Hyd … We love you, cap 🧡”

While another noted: “Yes, Sun Risers Hyderabad did prove Cricbuzz and its experts panel wrong with one game remaining and one game being a washout. Never underestimate a Hyderbad squad especially when led by a hungry Aussie. Pat Cummins lead SRH 2.0 is into the Playoffs of IPL2024.”

While another listed all his first-up achievements as captain.

“Won the WTC [first attempt] – Won the WC [first attempt] – Qualified into Play offs in IPL [first attempt]. Pat Cummins is creating his legacy as a leader, the main man of Modern Era leadership. 🐐,” they said.

While another said: Pat Cummins was worth every penny.”

– With Cameron Noakes