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.