BENGALURU: Royal Challengers Bangalore and SunRisers Hyderabad have had contrasting campaigns. If Kane Williamson’s side has been one of the best, while Virat Kohli’s men have been under par.
The 2016 champions were the first to secure a play-off spot, and are guaranteed a top-two finish. They were never going to be under pressure at Chinnaswamy Stadium. However, their opponents, Challengers, did not have that kind of luxury. Beating their opponents at home would help boost their qualification hopes.
No doubt, there was pressure on Kohli and his men to deliver in front of home fans. The problem for Bangalore, mostly, has been their failure to play all-round cricket. Both batting and bowling departments coming to the party in one game has been a rarity.Challengers scored 218 and it was for their bowlers to defend. Their total brought back memories of their Chennai Super Kings clash at home, where their bowlers had failed. The bowlers knew the task at hand. With the ball coming on to the bat and with the likes of Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan and Alex Hales in the mix, anything was possible. Shikhar and Hales started brightly, scoring 47 in the first five overs.
It gave SunRisers momentum and with Williamson (81) playing an incredible innings, the home crowd was left stunned for a long period. The Kiwi batsman was doing it all alone for a while as Manish Pandey (62 n.o) took time to settle. But when the latter also began to find form, Challengers’ bowling came under pressure.With the equation reading 67 off 30, the fielding team looked favourite. However, the SunRisers duo was not giving up, dealing in fours and sixes. But with 20 needed from their last over, Mohammed Siraj gave away five to help his team to a 14-run win.
Though SunRisers’ batsmen fell short, it was AB de Villiers (69) and Moeen Ali (65), who had set up the game. They were involved in a 107-run partnership, scoring at a tremendous rate during the middle overs. It was raining boundaries, with the South African and the Englishman thrashing bowlers all around the park. They did not spare any in the opposition’s camp, and were particularly severe on inexperienced Basil Thampi, who replaced Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The young pacer conceded 70 from his four overs, as he was also thrashed by Colin de Grandhomme, who played a good 17-ball, 40-run cameo at the end. That helped his team score 218, which proved to be just enough on a day when more than 400 runs were scored.Challengers have now won their third straight game, jumping from seventh to fifth. With a positive run rate, they have received a boost for their final-four hopes, but they still need to beat Rajasthan Royals in their last game, and hope for favourable results from other games.
Royal Challengers Bangalore218/6 in 20 ovs (De Villiers 69, Moeen 65, De Grandhomme 40; Rashid 3/27) bt Sun Risers Hyderabad 204/3 in 20 ovs (Williamson 81, Pandey 62 n.o).