Sunrisers in a spot as RCB finish on a high

Final flourish: RCB’s Shimron Hetmyer hammers one to the fence. DH photo/ ranju p

Gurkeerat Singh and Shimron Hetmyer received scant opportunities in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s lacklustre campaign this season. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday, the duo had one last chance to make a statement. And much to the relief of the vociferous supporters at the Chinnaswamy stadium, the batsmen delivered.

The 144-run stand between Gurkeerat (65, 48b, 8x4, 1x6) and Hetmyer (75, 47b, 4x4, 6x6) for the fourth wicket was the cornerstone of the Challengers’ successful chase of 176. The four-wicket win was a consolation for the already eliminated RCB. Virat Kohli’s men exit the 12th edition with 11 points, placed in seventh spot at the moment.

Sunrisers’ appalling fielding display hurt them dear. They squandered a golden opportunity in the 13th over when Yusuf Pathan spilled a regulation catch at point of Hetmyer, who was on 60. RCB then needed 62 from 43 balls and the drop was the turning point of the tie. Kane Williamson’s men, with 12 points, will be praying for the defeat of Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians on Sunday.

RCB were in definite trouble when Gurkeerat and Hetmyer joined hands. Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers – three of their trusted batsmen – were back in the hut for just 20 runs. Kohli, who made 16, finished an average season by his standards. The RCB skipper managed just 86 runs in his last five innings in a tally of 464 runs this season.

Earlier, Kane Williamson ended his wretched run with a 43-ball 70 that included four sixes and five fours. The Challengers almost denied their opponents a late flourish but a horrendous final over from Umesh Yadav took the visitors to a fighting total.  

Having managed just 147/7 in 19 overs, Sunrisers needed a big finish and Umesh was generous enough to leak 28 runs. Umesh was unlucky on the fifth ball when umpire Nigel Llong wrongly signalled a no-ball. That apart, it was a shoddy effort from the Vidarbha player.

Sunrisers got off to a rousing start, putting up 52/1 on the board in the first powerplay. Guptill launched an assault in the second over, carting two fours and one six off Navdeep Saini. Saha too picked up his first four in the over as the RCB paceman conceded 19 runs.  

Chahal, coming in the fourth over, also suffered a poor start. The leg-spinner was hit for three fours by Saha as the visitors enjoyed another good over, collecting 15 runs.

RCB got the breakthrough when Saini dismissed Saha in the fifth over. The hosts’ gained control of proceedings through Sundar’s double burst. Guptill departed in a soft manner, pushing the off-spinner’s short ball straight to Kohli at short mid-wicket.

The in-form Manish Pandey, who managed to contribute just nine runs, was Sundar’s second victim.

The Karnataka batsman executed a loose pull shot in the eighth over and holed out to deep square leg.

Sunrisers’ scoring rate was drastically hit after the twin blow. In the five overs after Pandey’s dismissal, Hyderabad managed to score just 31 runs. Williamson ensured they had a challenging total but RCB managed to sneak home in the final over, surviving the fall of both Gurkeerat and Hetmyer.

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