Bengaluru, April 4: In a touching video released hours before their final IPL 2019 match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers apologised to Royal Challengers Bangalore fans for the team's failure enter the knockout phase.
On Saturday, Kohli and De Villiers did not come up with any personal atonement, instead Shimron Hetmyer and Gurkeerat Singh helped the home side end their campaign with a few smiles.
The what-if kind of discussions about RCB's overall failure in this edition of IPL will do rounds for some more days but on this night the fans might not be too bothered to think that deep. After conceding 175/7 in 20 overs, the Royal Challengers mounted a professional chase to register a four-wicket win despite a late wobble.
Hetmyer, who displayed his full flair especially against the visitors and Gurkeerat combined to milk more than 100 runs for the fourth wicket that helped Royal Challengers tide over the loss of Parthiv Patel, Kohli and De Villiers within the Power Play segment.
However, the defeat will not entirely deny Hyderabad a chance to enter the knockouts. They have 12 points after the full quota of 14 matches and are tied with Kolkata Knight Riders at present. If Knight Riders lose to Mumbai Indians on Sunday, Hyderabad can enter the play-offs.
Kings XI too are on 10 points and can reach 12 points if they beat Chennai on the morrow but they will require a win of improbable proportions to overhaul the run-rate of Hyderabad.
Earlier, Sunrisers Hyderabad played an innings of one tempo from ball one. Martin Guptill and Wriddhiman Saha added 46 runs in five overs and the run flow never really dropped down below 8 from that point.
After the departure of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, Saha has ensured that Hyderabad never really lost out on momentum in the Power Plays. It was not that he scored big like Warner and Bairstow but played fine little cameos upfront to ensure that the following batsmen did not exactly feel the pressure of accelerating the run-rate taking undue risks.
The good start helped Hyderabad to sustain the flow and two batsmen who did not score big or quick came to their rescue on this night. Kane Williamson, who made an elegant yet quick fifty, his first in IPL 2019, and Vijay Shankar, who never really managed to stitch together even a run-a-ball knock in this edition of the IPL, made some amends for their past failures with two good innings.
Williamson punished Umesh Yadav for 27 runs in the final over, including a combination of 6, 4, 6, 4 that provided Hyderabad total a competitive hue. And it appeared to give them an undeniable edge for a while, but could not deny the Royal Challengers making their final night of IPL 2019 a memorable one. More than anyone else, their persevering fans deserved it.