AB de Villiers stars in RCB’s thrilling win over Sunrisers

Bengaluru: Needing 20 runs in the final over, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) could only muster six runs off medium-pacer Siraj and lost by 14-runs in an exciting tie at Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.

SRH skipper Kane Williamson played a blinder once again but Manish Pandey playing 3 dot balls in the last 3 overs of the innings was just not on when the team was chasing 219 for a win.

The duo did put on 135 runs for the third wicket — the highest partnership of the season — but it wasn’t easy as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) won the thriller by 14 runs to stay alive in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They now face Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Saturday as they look to sneak into the playoffs.

Chasing 219 to record the most successful chase of the IPL, SRH started well with Shikhar Dhawan and Alex Hales looking to take the attack to the RCB bowlers from the word go. But Yuzvendra Chahal struck in the 6th over as Dhawan (18) went back to the hut. Hales (37) left two overs later after he got two chances, but failed to cash in as AB de Villiers picked a blinder at mid-wicket boundary.

While the Bangalore players celebrated, what followed was a master-class from Williamson.  In fact, with the team needing 89 off 6 overs, he launched into Colin de Grandhomme along with Manish as they picked 22 runs from the over. That made it 67 needed off 30 balls and it looked like SRH was in cruise mode with the skipper guiding the ship out of troubled waters. In the end, SRH needed 20 off the last over and with Siraj dismissing Williamson (81) off the first ball, it was a game in the bag as RCB lives to fight another day in this IPL.

Earlier, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were off to poor start after being put into bat by Kane Williamson. Parthiv Patel departed in the very first over after his attempted pull shot off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma landed in the hands of the thirdman fielder.

Kohli was joined in the middle by AB de Villiers and the South African maestro announced his intentions at the beginning itself as he hit Shakib Hasan for consecutive boundaries in the second over and followed the same pattern by creaming the first two deliveries of the third over bowled by Sandeep Sharma to boundary.

Williamson introduced his best bowler, Rashid Khan in the fifth over and it paid dividends immediately. Kohli hit Rashid for a boundary through the mid-wicket region off the fourth delivery of the over. He tried to slog sweep the Afghan spinner again and completely missed the googly, which went and crashed into the stumps. Kohli departed for 12 and RCB were in a spot of bother at 38/2.

Moeen Ali joined de Villiers in the middle. While de Villiers kept getting the odd boundary away, Ali was all at sea against the spin of Rashid Khan. But the Englishman’s struggles ended in the eighth over as medium pacer Basil Thampi was introduced into the attack.

Ali got stuck into the youngster as he smashed him for two massive sixes off the first two deliveries of the eighth over. de Villiers slammed his 27th IPL fifty in the 12th over. Moeen Ali followed suit to bring up his maiden IPL fifty in the next over, Ali’s half-century coming off just 25 balls — de Villiers (69) and Ali (65). Colin de Grandhomme took centrestage  with 40 off 17. Sarfaraz Khan gave the finishing touches with an eight-ball 22 runs as RCB posted a mammoth 218/6.

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