The five-member bowling attack of Sunrisers Hyderabad rose to the occasion in fantastic manner to restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to a modest total of 131 for 7 in the eliminator of the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Jason Holder spearheaded the SRH pace battery with an outstanding bowling performance. Drafted late in the side as a replacement for injured Mitchell Marsh, Holder has been contributing in almost every match of SRH to prove his worth. The tall West Indian all-rounder perhaps bowled his most crucial spell of this season when he grabbed a three-wicket haul to choke the RCB batting line-up.
Put in to bat by SRH skipper David Warner, RCB could muster only 131 for 7. Captain Virat Kohli (6), who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday, opened the innings in the all-important match. The move backfired as he departed cheaply.
Holder (3 for 25) and Sandeep Sharma bowled superbly in the powerplay and had the better of the opening exchanges in the match. Holder accounted for Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal (1) to reduce RCB to 15 for 2 in the fourth over.
Aaron Finch (32), who batted at the No. 3 position instead of opening the innings, and AB de Villiers (56) attempted to resurrect the innings, but SRH kept taking regular wickets after their 41-run partnership for the third wicket.
De Villiers reached his half-century in the 16th over, but was dismissed by one of T Natarajan’s yorkers at the death. The left-arm paceman picked up a couple of wickets at the cost of 33 runs.
Mohammed Siraj (10 not out) and Navdeep Saini (9 not out) batted well in the death overs to give some sort of respectability to the total.
Warner’s men have won their last three games and appear to have got the combination right. After being down and nearly out, with just 4 wins in 11 games, SRH have scripted an impressive turnaround to reach the playoffs.
With their backs to the wall, the 2016 IPL champions had to win their final three league ties, which they did quite convincingly to pip RCB and finish third, thanks to a better net run-rate.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 131 for 7 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 56, Aaron Finch 32, Mohammed Siraj 10 not out, Navdeep Saini 9 not out; Jason Holder 3-25, T Natarajan 2-33, Shahbaz Nadeem 1-30) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad.