Sunrisers spoil routine pursuit as RCB scores second straight win

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner missed a trick by not taking the first strike after winning the draw against the Royal Challengers Bangalore? Beating second in Chennai is becoming more and more of a nightmare. On Tuesday, Kolkata Knight Riders imploded under dramatic circumstances. On Wednesday, it was SRH’s turn to whip up what looked like a simple chase down six points. Chasing 150, they were 96/1 after 14 overs with Warner and Manish Pandey in charge of the procedure. However, Warner’s exit frightened them as unannounced left-arm RCB spinner Shahbaz Ahmed took three wickets in the 17th as RCB recorded their second straight win.

Shahbaz makes a Rahul Chahar

Despite the loss of Captain Warner for a well-compiled 54 balls, SRH led the game after the 16th, with a score of 115/2. At the fold were a well-placed Manish Pandey and the irrepressible Jonny Bairstow. But batting second in Chennai was not proving easy. RCB captain Virat Kohli persisted with left arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed. Could he evoke magic like Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya did for Mumbai?

Pressure does strange things to people. Bairstow makes a mistake on a slog-sweep to give a hold to AB de Villiers. In the next delivery, Pandey digs a hole in the depths, while Ahmed gets two out of two. Abdul Samad avoids the hat-trick, but three balls later offer Ahmed a simple comeback. Three vital strikes in 17th place put RCB in the ascendancy. There was no heroism from all-rounders Vijay Shankar and Jason Holder as they surrendered in the 18th and 19th respectively to let SRH need 20 out of 9 balls. Rashid Khan, after his superlative efforts with the ball , did his best, crossing out a six and a limit off Harshal Patel. But it was simply too much of a task for the lower order of SRH. “A very big, bitter pill to swallow.” Obviously Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) hit well, but our bowlers did well to restrict them. Look, it was just about building a partnership… and I was pretty disappointed with the way we went – crossfire on left-arm Orthodox. It just hurts, ”Warner said after the second straight loss.

Maxwell diversifies

RCB would do well to thank Maxwell, their important signing for this season. The Australian may have had a scorching time last year with Kings XI Punjab, but in both games of his new franchise he seems to have found his verve. Maxwell has a definite role in the middle order that seems to have freed him to some extent. This is the reason why he managed to play the way he did. Walking to 47/2 after 6.1 overs, the 32-year-old struggled to come to terms with the Chennai track and Rashid Khan’s profession. After a calm start in which he accumulated 9 of 16 balls, he tore Shahbaz Nadeem in the 11th, slamming the left arm spinner for a brace of six and a limit. This was followed by another lull in the middle of the overs, after which he collected 39 points from the last three overs. His priceless 41 balls 59 was his first half-century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in five seasons. Maxwell’s flourishing propelled RCB to 149/8 which turned out to be a winning try. Without him, they were dead and buried. The beauty of this shot was the way he punctuated the innings and his judicious selection of shots.

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