SRH beat RCB by 5 wickets to keep play-off hopes alive

Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets to keep play-off hopes alive

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Devdutt Padikkal has his stumps rearranged by Sandeep Sharma of Sunrisers Hyderabad during their IPL clash on Saturday. Sportzpics

That familiar feeling that Royal Challengers Bangalore will muck it up is back. It’s an inexplicable inkling, but anyone in the know of their history, knows it skin deep.

From incomprehensible lows to unforgivable collapses, RCB aren’t a side for the weak-hearted, and from that standpoint, this has been a fantastic season so far. But their five-wicket loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday had some revisiting dank spaces.

Coming into this game at the Sharjah Cricket stadium with one win to qualify for the play-offs, RCB were favourites. After all, they were second on the table behind only Mumbai Indians (18) with 14 points and SRH were languishing at seventh with 10 points.

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On the day though, SRH’s shrewd bowling unit was impossible to put away on a sticky pitch as David Warner’s bowlers kept RCB down to 120 for 7 in 20 overs. SRH needed to score at a fraction over run-a-ball for the duration of the innings, and with heavy dew coming on, it was easy enough.

Of course, SRH complicated the matter a tad but eventually reached 121 for 5 in 14.1 overs to jump to fourth on the table. RCB’s third consecutive loss didn’t topple them from the second spot, and yet their fate in the tournament now depends on the game against Delhi Capitals on Monday.

It is mathematically possible for them to make the top-four even if they don’t come out on top in their last league game because they have 14 points. But what it does do is leave a lot to chance because theoretically, five other sides can still shove them out the door. And one of those teams, unbelievably enough, is SRH.

In fact, had they lost this game, they would have become the second team to exit the tournament after Chennai Super Kings. From that perspective, Sandeep Sharma (2/20), Jason Holder (2/27) and Rashid Khan (1/24) were the saviours. 

When RCB did take the field, they showed symptoms of resignation in their bowling - barring Yuzvendra Chahal (2/19) - and their apathetic body language. It also didn’t help that they spent considerable time warding off the effects of dew.

At the other end, SRH found contributors in Wriddhiman Saha (39) and Manish Pandey (26). They lost more wickets than they would’ve wanted to, but with Jason Holder (26 n.o.) putting his frame to use, they were able to get by while the creases on Virat Kohli’s forehead grew deeper. 

“The situation is straightforward: win the last game and finish in the top two. It is going to be a cracker of a game,” said Kohli.

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