Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pulled off a nervy 14-run win against leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad to stay alive for a qualification in the Indian Premier League Qualifiers at the M Chinaswami Stadium in Bangalore yesterday.
In a high-scoring entertainer, RCB bowlers especially, Tim Southee, who conceded just six runs in the 17th over, hold their nerves to defend a commanding 218 for six. Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson threatened to take the game away with a sublime 81 off 42 balls. But once the New Zealand right-hander was holed out in the deep off the first ball in the final over with his side needing 20 runs, the game was irrevocably tilted to RCB's way. Sunrisers eventually finished on 204 for three with Manish Pandey hitting an unbeaten 62. But he was also responsible for not allowing much of the strike to Williamson in the last five overs.
Earlier, RCB rode on half centuries by AB de Villiers (69) and Moen Ali (65) to post a commanding total. Colin de Grandhomme with a 17-ball 40 provided the late flourish in a game where so many catches were dropped. However, amidst those let offs, two stunning catches were taken. Surrisers Rashid Khan, who took three wickets for 27 runs in his four overs, took a one-handed catch at long-on. But it was De Villiers's stunner at deep mid-wicket that dismissed a menacing Alex Hales that would surely go down as one of the best catches in the IPL.
Hales stepped out and muscled Moen Ali's length ball and thought he had cleared it. But AB leapt high and realizing that the ball was swirling away instinctively puts his right hand out and pulled off a one-handed stunner even as it continued to curl away.
Bangladesh's premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan bowled a decent spell for Sunrisers, conceding 35 runs in his four overs.
RCB are now in fifth position with 12 points, leveled with Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI. Their game on Saturday against Royals in Jaipur will be a knockout shootout.
SCORES IN BRIEF
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 218 for six in 20 overs (De Villiers 69, Moen Ali 65, Grandhomme 40; Rashid 3-27)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 204 for three in 20 overs (Hales 37, Williamson 81, M Pandey 62 not out; Chahal 1-28)
Result: Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 14 runs
Player-of-the-match: AB de Villiers