Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed starred with three wickets in the 17th over as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) held its nerve to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by six runs in the IPL clash at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.
SRH's Jonny Bairstow perished to a slog sweep with AB de Villiers plucking a sensational catch. Then Manish Pandey, who stroked well for his 38, was done in by a delivery that spun away from him. And Abdul Samad’s attempted slog sweep off a delivery that bounced extra settled in bowler Shahbaz hands.
From 96 for one with David Warner at the crease, Sunrisers Hyderabad, shockingly, collapsed to 130 for eight, chasing 150. It was madness and mayhem out there.
The beginning of the chase was so different. The left-handed Warner pulled Kyle Jamieson ferociously, harnessing the pace and bounce. Then Pandey whipped the Kiwi for the maximum.
The intrepid Warner was picking the length early and getting into positions quickly. Kohli sought wickets through Yuzvendra Chahal. The diminutive Chahal has a good leg-spinner but lacks a potent wrong ‘un to give his bowling the cutting edge. Warner reverse swept Chahal to the fence.
Then came the pivotal moment. Jamieson, back for a second burst, forced a miscue from Warner by going around the wicket and taking the pace off the ball. RCB was back in the hunt.
Then Ahmed turned the game on its head.
Maxwell comes good
Earlier, Virat Kohli flicked Natarajan to the fence. The stroke had poise and timing. Yet, RCB lost wickets and momentum after being inserted and among them was the skipper (33) swinging Jason Holder to be brilliantly held by Vijay Shankar.
Eventually, it was Glenn Maxwell’s 41-ball 59 that provided substance to the RCB innings; 149 for eight was a combative score.
Maxwell was the cynosure. When Rashid Khan. with his bag of tricks, flighted at Maxwell, the ball spinning outside off, Maxwell unleashed the expansive drive through extra cover. His still head and consequent balance have made him a lot more solid.
Rashid mixed his wrong ‘uns with leg-spinners, bowled with guile and control, and his deliveries dipped. He took out the gifted de Villiers by turning the ball further from him, The South African, without footwork, attempted to clear cover, but holed out.
Maxwell held the fort, countered Rashid with maturity and went after the rest. His was an invaluable innings.
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