RCB beats SRH, keeps KKR in the playoff hunt

Shimron Hetmyer and Gurkeerat Mann stitch 144-run stand for the fouth wicket to take Royal Challengers Bangalore home against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Bengaluru on Saturday.

RCB batsman Shimron Hetmyer celebrates his fifty against SRH at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.   -  PTI


Shimron Hetmyer helped Royal Challengers Bangalore finish its IPL 2019 campaign on a high with a four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.

SRH, which needed a win to seal its place in the playoff, can still qualify if Kolkata Knight Riders loses the final league match to Mumbai Indians on Sunday.

Hetmyer, dropped from RCB’s first-choice team after a string of poor scores in his first four matches, proved his worth with an explosive innings, 75 off 47 balls, under pressure. It helped the host steady the ship after losing its top three batsmen — Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers — under 20 runs while chasing 176.

The southpaw was dropped by Yusuf Pathan on 60 off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. At that point, RCB still needed 62 runs from 43 balls. When the West Indian fell to Rashid Khan, trying to finish things early, the host needed only 12 runs off 14 balls.

Match highlights, RCB vs SRH

Gurkeerat Mann and Washington Sundar followed soon after, but Umesh Yadav salvaged some pride with successive boundaries to take his side home in the company of Colin de Grandhomme with four balls to spare.

Hetmyer was ably supported by Gurkeerat Mann who went about collecting his runs quietly in the initial stages before finding the gaps at will against spinners. He finished with 65 runs and was involved in a crucial 144-run fourth-wicket partnership with Hetmyer.

Captain Kane finds his mojo

Earlier, Kane Williamson made amends for his poor run this season with a responsible innings of 70 off 43 balls, collecting 28 in the last over bowled by Yadav.

Sunrisers skipper Kane Williamson in action against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday.   -  GETTY IMAGES


Prior to this game, the SRH skipper had scored only 58 runs in seven matches.

He rose to the challenge when it mattered as SRH kept losing wickets after the initial smattering of runs from openers Wriddhiman Saha and Martin Guptill.

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Navdeep Saini broke the first-wicket partnership after Saha holed out to Yadav in the fifth over. The opening partnership yielded 46 runs.

Washington then struck back-to-back blows in his first over, taking the wickets of Martin Guptill and Manish Pandey to put SRH on the backfoot. Guptill offered a simple catch to skipper Virat Kohli. Pandey fell after failing to give enough thrust to his pull shot as Hetmyer held on a low dipping catch inches from the ground. It needed third umpire intervention who decided in favour of the host.

Saha was dropped by Chahal off Yadav’s bowling when he was on 5.

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But for that initial dropped catch, RCB fielders mostly held on to the catches that came their way and the bowlers kept the SRH batsmen under a tight leash with regular wickets.

RCB’s bad luck with umpiring continued until the last match. If it was denied a no-ball from Mumbai Indians’ Lasith Malinga that could have changed the fate of its first home match, umpire Nigel Llong wrongfully called out a no-ball in an already costly Yadav over.

RCB skipper Virat Kohli (left) talks to the umpire as Umesh Yadav looks on.   -  AP

But the pacer would breathe easy tonight. The team finished on the winning side and his two boundaries proved to be the contributing factor.

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