Royal Challengers Bangalore' bowlers led from the front © AFP
Royal Challengers Bangalore’ bowlers led from the front © AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bowlers and fielders did a wonderful job, especially at the end, by dismissing Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for 146 in the ongoing Match 39 of VIVO IPL 2018. After the early jolts, Kane Williamson was composed as ever and played according to the field. He rotated the strike and took calculate risks. Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan got starts but weren’t very effective. The RCB bowlers, led by Mohammed Siraj and Tim Southee, delivered in tandem and restricted the run-flow. It is over to their batsmen now, to chase down a slightly-below-ordinary total against a bowling attack that has been defending totals at will this season.

RCB skipper Virat Kohli, opted to bowl first. He seemed to have read the pitch well. He included Moeen Ali on a slow wicket and opened bowling with him right away. His seamers resorted to off-cutters and cross-seam bowling. He planted himself at short cover, where he caught Manish Pandey off Yuzvendra Chahal.

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan and Alex Hales were removed courtesy Siraj and Southee respectively. Southee’s inswinger had cleaned up Hales, whereas Dhawan’s pull found the fielder in the deep. Williamson needed company at the other end, and Shakib stood up. He took on Moeen to keep the scoreboard ticking. However, between overs 10 to 13, RCB kept things tight.

Umesh Yadav leaked runs in the 14th over as Williamson decided to shift gears. He found the gaps, but fell trying play one shot too many, top-edging a cross-batted shot. He fell for an impressive 39-ball 56. At that stage SRH were 112 for 4 with 4 overs in hand. A total around 160 was definitely on the cards.

RCB’s death bowling woes didn’t resurface. They were determined as ever, and pulled things back after Williamson’s fifty. Siraj bowled straight and clean bowled Yusuf and Wriddhiman Saha, both of whom went for glory shots. Kohli himself pulled off two magnificent run outs. SRH lost their last 4 for 3 in the last 7 balls to concede the momentum to the visitors.

The total isn’t a big one, but the wicket isn’t the easiest to bat on, and the SRH attack is the best of the lot. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar (enjoys a good record against Parthiv Patel), Siddarth Kaul, Rashid Khan and Sandeep Sharma (has got rid of Kohli 5 times), this match can go either way.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 146 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 56, Shakib Al Hasan 35; Mohammed Sira 3 for 25, Tim Southee 2 for 30) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore