By Suhas Nayse -SJFI Member
Sharjah: Sunrisers Hyderabad swung back into contention with a crushing five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday. The former champions rose to the occasion in the must-win game to keep hopes alive for a play-off berth.
The David Warner-led side now has jumped to the fourth spot with 12 points to its credit. If SRH manage to win the last outing they can clinch a berth in the top-4. On the other hand, RCB are slightly better placed at the second spot with 14 points. However, if they have to enter the playoffs, they too had to post victory as 14 points will not be enough to get them through, particularly when the other teams are closing in rapidly.
Put in to bat by Warner, RCB were restricted to a measly score of 120 for 7. Experienced medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma made early inroads in the RCB line-up. The 27-year-old from Punjab sent back Devdutt Padikkal (5) and Virat Kohli (7) in his second and third over, respectively to put the opposition on the backfoot straightway.
Leg-spinner Rashid Khan struck after the Powerplay as RCB failed to gather momentum in the crucial encounter. Opener Josh Philippe (32) and AB De Villiers (24) had decent starts but fell in quick succession in the middle overs as SRH continued to dazzle in the field. Sandeep Sharma, who was later adjudged man-of-the-match, returned with impressive figures of 2 for 20. Jason Holder (2 for 27) provided strong support. T Natarajan, Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem took a wicket each.
Chasing a modest target, SRH crossed the finish line in the 15th over with five wickets to spare. Last match hero, Wriddhiman Saha (39) continued his superb form and again anchored the chase for SRH before he necessarily stepped out and was stumped by de Villiers off Yuzvendra Chahal. Although, a couple of wickets in the middle overs by Chahal (2 for 19) threatened to make things interesting, SRH did not panic and romped home with 35 balls to spare. All-rounder Jason Holder proved his worth in the batting department too by slamming an unbeaten 26.
On Sunday in the last double header of the season, Kings XI Punjab (12 points) will square off against Chennai Super Kings (10) at Abu Dhabi, while Rajasthan Royals (12) will lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders (12) at Dubai.
Bries scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 120 for 7 in 20 overs (Josh Philippe 32, AB de Villiers 24, Washington Sundar 21, Gurkeerat Singh 15 not out; Sandeep Sharma 2-20, Jason Holder 2-27, T Natarajan 1-11, Rashid Khan 1-24, Shahbaz Nadeem 1-35) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 121 for 5 in 14.1 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 39, Jason Holder 26 not out, Manish Pandey 26; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-19, Isuru Udana 1-20, Washington Sundar 1-21, Navdeep Saini 1-30) by 5 wickets. Man-of-the-match: Sandeep Sharma (Sunrisers Hyderabad).