Bengaluru, May 17: You would not want to draw Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win game because of their immense bowling might. But that's the task Royal Challengers Bangalore had in front of them and they survived the test in a riveting contest, emerging a 14-run winner at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday (May 17).
The Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen produced a power-packed effort against Sunrisers who benched Bhuvneshwar Kumar for Basil Thampi. But pacer Thampi went for 70 runs in his four overs, the costliest over in the IPL history, as Royal Challengers rattled up a massive 218/4 after being asked to bat first.
Then the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers - specifically Tim Southee and Mohammad Siraj - held their nerves to restrict Sunrisers to 204/4. Now, RCB have 12 points from 13 games with a match against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur pending and that tie is a must-win for both the teams as they are tied on 12 points.
However, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had a rather shaky beginning to this significant match, losing Parthiv Patel and skipper Virat Kohli inside the Power Play overs. Parthiv skied Sandeep Sharma while Kohli did not pick a googly by Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan and was bowled through the gate.
But AB de Villiers (69, 39b, 12x4, 1x6) and Moeen Ali stitched together a 107-run stand for the third wicket as Royal Challengers reached 145 in the 15th over. However, Sunrisers made a comeback into the game, dismissing De Villiers and Ali, who cracked his first IPL 50 (65, 34b, 2x4, 3x6), in the space of four runs.
But on a pitch that was pregnant with runs, the Royal Challengers Bangalore needed something bigger to stop the Sunrisers. A late flourish came through Colin de Grandhomme (40, 17b, 1x4, 4x6) and Sarfaraz Khan (22, 8b 3x4, 1x6) as the home side marched to 218 for four.
That makes it 3 in 3 games and we have a winning run 🔥❤️— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) May 17, 2018
Chahal was outstanding with the ball and AB, Mo, CdG and Sarfaraz all contributed to give our home crowd a fitting farewell 🙌
Now onto Jaipur.#PlayBold #RCBvSRH #RCB pic.twitter.com/klnLN00iEw
The Sunrisers needed some sustained hitting to hunt down a target of that proportions. Shikhar Dhawan and Alex Hales gave them a good beginning adding 47 off 5.1 overs before the former perished to Yuzvendra Chahal. The Superman catch of De Villiers off Ali at deep ended the stay of Hales.
However, the Sunrisers found two willing fighters in skipper Kane Williamson, who became the second batsman to cross the 600-run mark in this edition of the IPL after KL Rahul of Kings XI Punjab.
Williamson, who shot making carried a touch of beauty and class, made 81 (42b, 7x4, 5x6) and Pandey (62 n.o., 38b, 7x4, 2x6) milked 135 runs for the third wicket to keep Sunrisers in the chase. When the second time out was taken the equation for Sunrisers to win as 55 runs off 24 balls.
But Southee summoned all his experience to bowl a series of yorkers outside the off-stump and conceded only six runs in the over. And when Siraj came to deliver the final over the of the day, Sunrisers needed 20 runs off six balls.
It was eminently achievable with a set Williamson and Pandey at the crease but showed great presence of mind to deny Sunrisers. Williamson shuffled across the stumps and tried to loft Siraj over fine leg. There was elevation but not the distance as the ball nestled in the hands of Grandhomme.
The match was as good as over with the departure of Williamson. Pandey had five balls to work some magic but he tried to be too cute attempting some ramp shots and proper cricketing shots could have fetched him much better results.
We fought well and it wasn't our day but we broke through today as we scored more than 200 tonight and we will work harder from here.— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) May 17, 2018
Onwards and Upwards #OrangeArmy#RCBvSRH #IPL2018 pic.twitter.com/hWCSwDXf5F
All, SRH could manage was six runs in the over and now they need to tame Royals, who will not have the services of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, who have returned to England to prepare for the Test series against Pakistan, in their own den.
It's a tough task but self-belief and confidence have returned to this Royal Challengers Bangalore line up. It will be their biggest weapon against Royals.