The IPL crowd is used to thrillers where fours and sixes rain in the closing stages and teams chase down improbable targets. The ongoing edition in the UAE saw a record for the highest successful chase in the history of the tournament.
Friday’s Eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore showed there can be other kinds of thriller also.
It was not the typical IPL match fans have got accustomed to. But the low-scoring affair had its share of suspense, drama and intrigue nonetheless.
Despite having just 131 on the board, Bangalore made Hyderabad work hard and took the match to the last over.
Only then did the target they had set prove inadequate, as Hyderabad set up a Qualifier 2 clash against Delhi Capitals to be played at the same venue on Sunday.
At 67/4 in the 12th over, Hyderabad were in trouble. Leg-spinners Adam Zampa, who replaced an injured Chris Morris, and Yuzvendra Chahal kept them guessing.
The Australian was their standout bowler, with figures of 4-0-12-1. But an unbroken partnership between Kane Williamson and Jason Holder dashed Bangalore’s hopes. Rather quiet this season, Williamson’s 44-ball 50 not out held the innings together.
Under pressure, it was sensible batting from both, devoid of risks with few big hits.
Unsold at the last IPL auctions despite having a relatively low base price of Rs 75 lakh, Holder was primarily responsible for denting Bangalore at the start.
Not express, but one who generates bounce due to his height, Holder took the first two wickets and finished with match-defining figures of 4-0-25-3.
Signed up as replacement of the injured Mitch Marsh, in six games he has 13 wickets, as many as he has taken in 17 appearances for West Indies. Holder’s 24 not out off 20 balls was no less valuable.
While Bangalore deserve credit for the way they fought back and stretched the game to the end, it was a batting failure on their part that saw them crash out. Asked to bat on a pitch that was slow and offered turn, their innings never took off after losing Virat Kohli in the second over.
Devdutt Padikkal, the other in-form batsman, fell in the fourth. Even though AB de Villiers struck 56 off 43, the collective failure of other batters let Bangalore down.
A persistent fall of wickets left De Villiers as the lone one carrying Bangalore’s hopes. But spinners Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem made it a struggle for the great South African.
Like Holder, Nadeem was playing his sixth match this season. He won the mind game with De Villiers by outthinking him. T
he batsman was moving outside leg to make room and hit on the off side, but the left-armer kept following and denying him.
Brief scores: Bangalore 131/7 in 20 ovs (De Villiers 56, Holder 3/25, Natarajan 2/33) lost to Hyderabad 132/4 in 19.4 ovs (Williamson 50 n.o, Holder 24 n.o, Siraj 2/28).