IPL 2020: SRH stay alive, RCB wait for play-off spot
In the end Jason Holder smashed three late sixes as the most underrated big-hitter from the Caribbean helped Sunrisers Hyderabad ease to a five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in a must-win IPL game on Saturday.
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Sharjah was far from the batsmen’s paradise as RCB, asked to bat first on a slow pitch, were restricted to 120/7 by SRH bowlers before their batsmen, on a wicket firmed up due to dew, were guided to 121/5 in 14.1 overs.
It lifted SRH to fourth on the table, enjoying the best net run rate among the four teams on 12. They must still beat table toppers Mumbai Indians in their final game on Tuesday if they are to keep hopes of qualifying.
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RCB, on 14 points, face Delhi Capital on Monday and losers of that game between two sides that have lost all momentum - it was RCB’s third loss in a row - could be eliminated.
Holder’s 10-ball 26 not out (1x4, 3x6) sealed the deal after Wriddhiman Saha (39-32b, 4x4,1x6), the top-scorer in a slow burner after returning from injury, and Manish Pandey (26) had set it up. Both fell to Yuzvendra Chahal (2/19), but Holder, who took two wickets as well, produced the big hits.
Virat Kohli felt at the toss that RCB being put into bat was an advantage as the dry pitch could slow down. SRH bowlers were brilliant first up to dash such hopes.
Kohli, the master of chase, struggled for timing despite a good start by openers in the previous game against Mumbai Indians, and a par score had led to defeat. On Saturday, Sandeep Sharma foxed in-form Devdutt Padikkal (5) and Kohli came into bat in the third over.
He was gone inside the powerplay, making it 28/2. Sandeep bowled two inswingers and slipped in the one that moved away, inducing Kohli to drive away from the body to Kane Williamson, posted for that mistake at short extra-cover.
For Sandeep Sharma, it was a record seventh IPL dismissal of Kohli. Ashish Nehra had got him six times. Sharma was still laughing walking back to bowl as his clever variation, a slant of shoulder, had undone Padikkal, bowled. RCB, 30/2 after six overs, were 84/4 after 13 - when Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem ended a combined seven-over spell, having conceded 53 runs for two wickets.
RCB made 27 runs in the last five overs as Washington Sundar (21) and Gurkeerat Singh (15*) could not find momentum with survival uppermost in the mind. It would have been double delight for SRH if Nadeem had taken AB de Villiers’ return catch when on four. De Villiers (24-24 b) got going with opener Josh Philippe (32), but Nadeem made amends as the batsman misjudged the bounce to loft straight to deep point.
David Warner hit Sundar’s first ball - in the second over - for six but miscued the next to mid-on and Manish Pandey (26) top-edged Chahal but Saha and Holder had the last say.