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AB de Vil­liers and Moeen Ali struck breezy half­cen­turies as Royal Challengers Bangalore held their nerves un­der pres­sure to eke out a 14-run win over ta­ble-top­pers Sunrisers Hy­der­abad in a must-win match and stay afloat in the In­dian Premier League in Bengaluru on Thurs­day.

Asked to bat, RCB posted a mam­moth 218 for six be­fore sur­viv­ing a scare from Sunrisers skip­per Kane Wil­liamson (81 off 42) and Man­ish Pandey (62 off 38) to re­strict the visi­tors to 204 for three.

De Vil­liers (69 off 39) and Ali (65 off 34) over­came a bad start to stitch 107 runs off just 57 balls for the third wicket to not only set the plat­form for RCB’s to­tal but also keep their team in con­tention. Chasing the mam­moth to­tal, Sunrisers started on a pos­i­tive note pil­ing up 47 runs off the first five overs be­fore Shikhar Dhawan hit one straight back to Yuzven­dra Cha­hal off his own bowl­ing in the next over.

Alex Hales (37 off 24) was go­ing great guns be­fore De Vil­liers pulled off a blinder of a one­handed catch at mid­wicket boundary off Ali to sent the English­man back. But Sunrisers cap­tain Wil­liamson had other in­ten­tions as he took the at­tack to the op­po­si­tion and hit Tim Southee for con­sec­u­tive bound­aries be­fore clob­ber­ing Ali for two fours and six in the next over to keep his team abreast with the re­quired run rate.

Wil­liamson went about his busi­ness in el­e­gant fash­ion with­out tak­ing much risk and was ably sup­ported by Pandey at the other end as the duo stitched mag­nif­i­cent 135 runs for the sec­ond wicket off just 68 de­liv­er­ies to vir­tu­ally take Sunrisers home. Wil­liam­sion, in par­tic­u­lar, looked in sub­lime touch as he struck the balls to all parts of the ground with­out tak­ing any un­due risk, while Pandey took his time to get go­ing.

But even­tu­ally the ask­ing rate proved to be too tall for Sunrisers as Southee pro­duced some bril­liant death bowl­ing dis­play to deny an im­prob­a­ble win for the visi­tors. South pro­duced a bril­liant 16th over that yielded just six runs and then came back an over later to give Sunrisers a 20-run tar­get from the last over.

Wil­liamson’s rous­ing 81 off 42 goes in vain as RCB beat SRH. Kohli & Co jump to fifth po­si­tion in points tally

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s AB De Vil­liers takes the catch of SRH bats­man Alex Hales at Chin­naswamy Sta­dium on Thurs­day. (Left) Hy­der­abad skip­per Kane Wil­liamson plays a shot.

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