Sunrisers dent RCB hopes with convincing win

Sunrisers dent RCB hopes with convincing win

Dhawan, Warner sparkle for hosts

Sunrisers dent RCB hopes with convincing win

Royal Challengers Bangalore compensated for the initial sluggishness with the bat through the peppiness of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the second half of their innings, but that wasn’t enough to carry them past the post here on Thursday. 

Batting by choice, Royal Challengers made 160 for 6 in 20 overs, and Sunrisers replied with 161 for three with two balls to spare to celebrate a seven-wicket win at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan (50, 39b, 7x4, 1x6) and David Warner (59, 46b, 3x4, 1x6) made brisk fifties to chart the course of a successful chase that has seriously dented RCB’s chances of making the play-offs.

Royal Challengers made a dawdling start to their innings, losing openers Chris Gayle and Parthiv Patel inside the first six overs, in which they made just 25 runs. Dale Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Parvez Rasool never allowed any liberties to the visiting batsmen. This was the fourth time this season Royal Challengers have made less than 30 runs in the Power Play overs. There appeared no way out of the ennui as they finished the first 10 overs with just 48 runs on the board.

The first hint of a turnaround came when Kohli (67, 48b, 4x4, 4x6) milked leg-spinner Karn Sharma for 19 runs in the 12th over, including two sixes and a four. Kohli was a tad unfortunate to miss out on a substantial score this season, getting out in all sort of fashions – run out, caught down the leg side and a couple of umpiring errors.

But on this day, Kohli couldn’t have been denied as he in the company of Yuvraj Singh added 57 runs in little over seven overs for the third wicket. Kohli also went past his fifty at this stage, the first for the Royal Challengers’ captain. Yuvraj wasn’t in his fluent mode, but helped Kohli with his solid presence at the other end. 

Yuvraj got out just when he had begun to break free, skying a catch to Steyn off Rasool, who was impressive in his debut match of the season. But that dismissal didn’t slow down Royal Challengers as De Villiers joined Kohli to push the scoring at a swift rate.

Kohli and De Villiers also joined hands to take 19 runs off the only over bowled by Darren Sammy as Royal Challengers appeared primed for a now familiar late over blitz.

But the quick departures of Kohli and De Villiers put paid to those plans. Steyn caught Kohli near the long-off ropes off Irfan Pathan, while Bhuvneshwar rearranged the woodwork of a shuffling De Villiers. 

Those two dismissals resulted in a very sedate last two overs for Royal Challengers, but even then 161 was not an easy target to hunt down, considering the largely spot-on RCB bowlers. 

But for once Sunrisers’ opening combination clicked in this tournament as runs gushed in in the Power Plays, 51 to be precise. Dhawan, the home side skipper, had gone through a wretched run with the bat in this edition of the IPL, often depriving Sunrisers of a quick start. He has tried a few things like coming down the order and stepping away from captaincy, handing over the charge to Sammy.

But none of it had worked so far for him and on this day the Delhi left-hander played with refreshing freedom, often even outscoring David Warner. With dark clouds accumulating over the stadium, both the batsmen batted with a sense of urgency, and added an even 100 for the first wicket in just over 12 overs. 

Dhawan and Warner returned after a setting a sound platform. There was a bit of slowdown in scoring after their dismissals, but the rest of the batsmen ensured that Sunrisers finished this season’s home assignments on a winning note. 

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