IPL 2020 is surely not going as per the script as with just four league matches to play, three play-off places are still up for grabs after Sunrisers Hyderabad brought Royal Challengers Bangalore at par with themselves with a five-wicket victory in Sharjah.
Both the sides are now locked on 14 points, along with Delhi Capitals, with a match each to play.
The victory for SRH was down to some clinical bowling spells from Sandeep Sharma and Jason Holder, with other SRH bowlers chipping in as well, to restrict a star-studded RCB batting line-up at 120/7. The short target did huge favour to SRH batsmen, who chased off the run-a-ball target despite losing wickets at regular intervals.
Chasing the paltry total, SRH had to endure the loss of David Warner (8 off 5), who was out of a soft dismissal in the second over to spinner Washington Sundar right after smashing him for a six.
Inform Manish Pandey, in at no.3, ensured the runs didn’t stop coming in a dominant second-wicket stand with Wriddhiman Saha. SRH brought up 50 inside the powerplay with the dew factor started playing the game in batsman’s hand.
Pandey (26 off 19) fell right after the fielding restrictions were off as his rash shot off Yuzvendra Chahal found Chris Morris over mid-on. However with half of the total already scored, it was always going to be difficult for RCB to turn it around. An already settled Saha then scored 18 off the 22-run stand with Kane Williamson for the third wicket made SRH further comfortable.
RCB did make a late surge by picking wickets of Saha (39 off 32) and Williamson to leave SRH worried at 87/4. However, it was too little too late for RCB as Jason Holder put on a late cameo of 10-ball 26 with three huge sixes to finish off the job.
Earlier in the first ininings, Sandeep Sharma and Jason Holder took two wickets each to help SRH restrict RCB to 120/7 in 20 overs.
Apart from good bowling by Sharma and Holder, spinners Thangarasu Natarajan and Rashid Khan starved the RCB batsmen for runs. In the four overs each that the pair bowled, Natarajan registered figures of 1/11 while Rashid returned 1/24.
Sharma provided the breakthrough in the form of Devdutt Padikkal who could make only five runs before dismissing RCB captain Virat Kohli for the seventh time in the IPL.