Royal Challengers Bangalore squared off with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 52nd game of Dream 11 IPL at Sharjah on Saturday. It was a do-or-die game for SRH and they put forward their A-game to register a clinical win and thus have kept their chances of qualification alive. SRH bowlers did remarkably well to restrict a dangerous RCB batting line-up to just 120/9 before Jason Holder sealed the game for them with 35 balls to spare. SRH defeated RCB by 5 wickets and now find themselves in the top half of the table with 12 points due to a fantastic NRR of +0.555
Warner won the toss and elected to field first on a sluggish surface. Sandeep Sharma proved his decision right as he dismissed Virat Kohli(7) and Devdutt Padikkal (5) -RCB’s top 2 run-scorers of the season- cheaply within the powerplay. He took Kohli’s wicket for the record-seventh time in the history of IPL. De Villiers(24) and Josh Phillippe (32) got decent starts and tried to rebuild Bangalore’s innings but lost both their wickets in quick successions trying to accelerate.
A weak RCB middle order was exposed yet again with none of their remaining batsmen being able to hit the ball from the middle of their bat. Washington Sundar(21) showed some resistance but with no support from the other end, there wasn’t much he could do as RCB stuttered to a below-par total of 120/9 in their 20 overs. All of Hyderabad’s bowlers were successful in picking wickets and were impressive with their tight line and length that left the Bangalore batsmen clueless. Sandeep Sharma and Jason Holder picked up 2 wickets each.
RCB bowlers fought hard by dismissing David Warner (10) in the very second over of Hyderabad’s innings but even with the dangerman gone, they didn’t have too many runs on the board to defend. Wriddhiman Saha (39) and Manish Pandey (26) stitched decent partnership and at one point Hyderabad were cruising towards a thumping win. But RCB bowlers did remarkably well to make a comeback and pick a couple of quick wickets to complicate things for Hyderabad but it was a quickfire 26 by Jason Holder that made sure Hyderabad didn’t have another collapse and bottle an easy run-chase yet again as they did against Punjab. Yuzvendra Chahal starred with the ball for Bangalore, picking up 2 crucial wickets and almost took the game away from SRH.
Sandeep Sharma was adjourned the Man of the Match for picking up two crucial wickets in RCB’s powerplay and he ended with figures of 4-0-20-2.
MI, DC and RCB had dominated the first half of the tournament and looked all set to make it to the play-offs at the half-way mark but with just 4 league games remaining, MI is the only team to have qualified for the play-offs. DC and RCB, both saw a dip in their form as they lost their momentum and now find themselves in a very tight situation that could have very well been avoided. This is RCB’s third consecutive loss. They face DC in the final game of the IPL’s league stage and the winner of that game will finish in top 2 alongside Mumbai Indians.
An SRH-win has complicated the qualification scenario even more and now 4 teams stand the chance of finishing with 14 points. NRR is expected to play a huge role and SRH are lucky in that regard as they have the league’s second-best NRR of +0.555. All of the remaining games will have a significant impact on the points table making the tournament all the more interesting.