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Cricket | Indian Premier League 2018

AB de Villiers © Twitter (@IPL)

AB-led RCB stun table-toppers

AB de Villiers smashed a 39-ball 69 and pulled off a fantastic catch as the Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their slim hopes of qualifying for the Indian Premier League playoffs alive with a nailbiting 14 run-win against the table-topping Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Full scorecard: Bangalore v Hyderabad

The hosts struck 218 for six, dominated by the South African icon De Villiers’s 39-ball 69, a superb 65 off 34 balls by Moeen Ali and a 17-ball 40 by Colin de Grandhomme.

In pursuit of a win and in the midst of a 135-run partnership off 67 balls, the emerging global T20 colossus Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey needing 20 runs in the final over, came unstuck in that over, bowled by Mohammed Siraj, who emerged as an unlikely hero.

Williamson was caught by De Grandhomme at deep square leg off Siraj for 81 when he attempted to deposit a slow ball for six at the start of the 20th over. He faced 42 balls and struck seven fours and five sixes.

Pandey could not strike sixes in the remainder of the over and Siraj conceded only five runs while taking the wicket of Williamson. The visitors finished on 204 for three. Pandey scored 62 off 38 balls.

Siraj was supported in the death overs by Tim Southee, who, when Williamson and Pandey needed 56 off four overs, bowled wide yorkers. The success thereof proved to be critical in the outcome of the match apart from Siraj’s cool head in the final over.

The power play phase was dominated by a controversial decision to disallow a catch by Tim Southee to remove Alex Hales when on 19. He moved in smartly from mid-wicket to catch Hales close to the ground, but the TV referee disagreed with the on-field-decision.

He recovered to strike 15 in an over by Siraj and powered the visitors to 56 for one after six overs.

Ali ended the debate about Hales when he had his compatriot expertly caught on the midwicket-boundary by De Villiers for 37 off 24 balls as the visitors slipped to 64 for two.

But Williamson stepped up to the plate, hitting 17 runs in an over by Ali with enormous technical skill and improvisation as the visitors moved to 91 for two after 10 overs.

His 50 came off 28 balls – Williamson was sublime and incredible. When power was required, he also produced it, silencing the crowd and had the slow bowlers head-scratching.

When Umesh Yadav returned for a third over, Williamson clobbered 13 runs to keep Hyderabad in the hunt


De Grandhomme was introduced, but that 15th over produced 22 runs as Williamson was joint in the boundary bashing by Pandey and the visitors moved to 152 for two.

The Pandey-Williamson-stand reached three figures off 48 balls with another 56 runs required off four balls to seal RCB’s fate and confirm the status of Hyderabad as the odds-on favourite to win the title.

Southee returned for a second spell and bowled wide Yorkers with regularity – a miserly 17th over that yielded only six runs.

Siraj took four balls before he found the right length, but by that time he had already conceded 12 runs in the 18th over. The visitors required 35 off 12 balls to seal the deal.

They so nearly did, but Williamson fell off the first delivery of the final over by Siraj for a wondrous 81 off 42 balls – an innings as good as that of De Villiers in the same match.

Earlier, De Villiers and Ali ignited the M Chinnaswamy Stadium crowd with a stand of 107 runs for the third wicket.

De Villiers smashed 12 fours and a six, while Ali struck six sixes and two fours in his 65 off 34 balls.

When Rashid Khan produced a double-strike in the 15th over to remove both – their century-stand came off 55 balls – De Grandhomme and Sarfaraz Khan pulverised the bowling of Basil Thampi.

The last five overs produced 69 runs and the partnership between De Grandhomme and Khan for the fifth wicket was a whopping 62 off 25 balls.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Virat Kohli (capt), Parthiv Patel (wk), Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Kane Williamson (capt), Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi


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