SRH vs RCB: Williamson, Holder & the art of completing run-chase

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Williamson and Holder after the win
Williamson and Holder led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to an impressive win

How often have we seen momentum shift and swing tides in a T20? How often have we seen a low-scoring game on a turning track go down to the wire? And more importantly, how often have we seen Kane Williamson anchor a pressure run-chase? Well, if you are a Sunrisers Hyderabad fan, this one time today at Abu Dhabi is enough to cherish.

The Thrill of the Eliminator:

Chahal and Zampa were crucial in the middle overs
Chahal and Zampa were crucial in the middle overs

Adam Zampa and Yuzvendra Chahal were introduced into the bowling attack immediately after the powerplay. Despite an early wicket, Hyderabad were off to a flier and the onus of containing runs was let to the two RCB leg spinners. While one mixed up his stock deliveries well, the other caught the batsmen off guard with his flight. Either of them capped the flow of runs and within a matter of 5 overs, Bangalore were right back in it. Their effort also resulted in three massie wickets in quick succession. Hyderabad were on virtue of losing the plot, just the way Bangalore did in their innings. However, Kane Williamson and Jason Holder were at the crease and given a small target, their wickets were of paramount importance.

The duo also lived up to the tag and gave RCB bowlers no chance to find the in-roads. Both the batsmen were cautious, watchful and took no undue risks. They played out all the crucial overs and negated all the threats well. They made sure that the scoreboard ticked along and the occasional loose ball was not unpunished. It was a partnership of some caliber, some quality and one that saw Hyderabad through to the Second Qualifier. Ironically, it was the Test cricket geniuses in Williamson and Holder that helped Hyderabad overcome a rather difficult T20 run-chase.

SRH bowlers restrict RCB to 131 in the Eliminator
Holder-led SRH bowling attack was at its best.

Earlier in the day, courtesy of an extra-ordinary bowling performance, Hyderabad had restricted Bangalore to only 131 in their 20 overs. THe decision of dropping the in-form Jonny Bairstow for the all-rounder Jason Holder has been a match-winning one. Not only has the tall bowler chipped in with wickets but has also provided the required finish with the bat. Yet again today, he was at the forefront with the ball before completing proceedings with the bat.He was well supported by the spinners Rashid and Nadeem and the death over specialist, Natarajan. Incidentally, Natarajan also picked up the priced wicket of AB De Villiers in the 18th over. Villiers, the lone warrior for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, had no answer to the toe-crushing yorker though his knock of 56 had salvaged some pride and target to bowl at for the RCB.

The only half-chance from Kane Williamson:

Devdutt Paddikal's inhuman effort could have turned the outcome of the game
Devdutt Paddikal’s effort on the boundary

It was arguably the best knock of the season from the New Zealand captain. His sixes off Sundar and Chahal clipped the match in Hyderabad’s favor, but it was his elegance with the deft touch against Dube that stole hearts. The Kiwi captain gave absolutely no half-chances except for one. In the 18th over, he flicked Saini over the square leg fence. Young Paddikal, stationed on the boundary grabbed the ball mid-air but could not come back in time to complete the catch. In all fairness, DDP’s inhuman attempt deserved all the credit for the effort but in a sport of margins, that was the only incident that may have helped RCB win.

RCB and Heartbreaks:

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have one of the most passionate and loyal fanbases in the country. Year in and year out, the RCB fans come in with a belief, trust and confidence of winning the title but the “Ee Saala Cup Namde” chants only fade away with time, this year being no different. Yes, the recruitments seemed much on point, the bowling attack seemed well rounded, there were signs of batting beyond Virat-ABD and for once, RCB seemed to walk in with purpose. But none of it proved enough to even get a sniff at the title. Anything if at all, the heartbreak of the fans was worsened by the five match losing streak, showing signs of a return of unwanted problems.

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