“Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had nothing to play for but pride,” was a phrase that was doing the rounds ahead of this game. A win would have been the perfect way to say thank you to the loyal fans at the Chinnaswamy, who have been right behind the team this season despite of their poor form. They did show glimpses of their excellence – be it against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) or against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). But when you lose the first six games of the season, more often than not, you are going to languish in the bottom of the table.
Coming to this match, it was moment to rejoice for RCB skipper Virat Kohli as he had won the toss, which has been a rarity this season, and elected to bowl. SRH got off to a brisk start with Wriddhiman Saha (20) and Martin Guptill (30) going great guns, but then, they lost three wickets in a span of three overs, which included two wickets in an over off the bowling of Washington Sundar. However, Kane Williamson finally struck form and was willing to play the sheet-anchor role, while the batsmen at the other end had the license to go for the big hits. Vijay Shankar (27) was the only one who managed to connect a few, but the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan were dismissed for single digits, as a result of which, SRH did not really have the momentum.
SRH were 147 for 7 at the end of 19 overs and Kohli decided to hand the ball to Umesh Yadav instead of Sundar, who also had an over up his sleeve. Umesh, who has had a poor season at the death with the ball conceded 28 runs off the over, which gave SRH a healthy of 175. Williamson remained unbeaten on 70 off 43 – 21 of which came in the final over.
RCB did not start well with the bat either as Parthiv Patel was dismissed in the very first over, to put RCB into further trouble. It was once again up to Kohli and AB de Villiers to rescue RCB. But they were dismissed in the next couple of overs, leaving a lot to do for RCB’s fragile middle-order.
Shimron Hetmyer finally showed glimpses of why RCB shelled out a lot of money for him. Gurkeerat Singh at the other end was playing sensibly and giving as much strike as possible to Hetmyer, who was striking the ball cleanly. Hetmyer brought up his maiden IPL fifty off just 32 deliveries. More importantly, he did not throw his wicket away and the duo brought up their 100-run stand off just 67 deliveries, which gave RCB a great chance of winning the game.
Once Gurkeerat got his eye, he too started going for his shots. In fact, he played some glorious pulls and flicks, which took RCB closer and closer to a victory. In the meantime, Gurkeerat also brought up his fifty – off 39 deliveries – which is by far his best knock in the IPL.
With 30 more needed off the final four overs, RCB were in the driver’s seat. Williamson was in desperate need of breaking the Hetmyer-Gurkeerat partnership and as a result bowled Bhuvneshwar Kumar out in the 17th over itself.
However, after a 146-run stand for the fourth wicket, Hetmyer (75) and Gurkeerat (65) were dismissed in quick succession with nine more required of 10 deliveries. RCB needed run-a-ball in the final over after Sundar perished for a golden duck.
Umesh redeemed himself with the bat and finished the match with four wickets and four balls to spare.
SRH’s win % took a major dip in the eighth over by 22%, when Sundar had picked up two wickets - Guptill and Manish Pandey - in a span of four deliveries to put RCB in a good position after SRH had made a good start. This was their biggest dip in the entire innings.
As far as RCB’s innings is concerned, their biggest spike in the win % came in the 18th over when Hetmyer smashed Rashid Khan for a couple of sixes, but holed out while attempting to go for the third one. RCB’s win % had gone up by 19% to give them a 90% chance of winning from there.
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