At times when things do not go according to plan, last-resort measures — often forced upon than taken with conviction — can produce the desired results.
For Sunrisers Hyderabad, that was how Jason Holder found his way into the starting XI and transformed the team’s fortunes.
Holder was on a vacation before he was summoned by SRH to replace all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who picked up an injury in the first match of the tournament. But it took until the 10th match for Holder to get a chance and since then he had been the most influential player for the team.
In the final five league games, he had picked up 10 wickets and played a crucial cameo with the bat against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a league match — an unbeaten 10-ball 26.
In the Eliminator against RCB, the West Indian Test skipper set the tone with the ball (3/25) when he picked up two key wickets of Virat Kohli and the in-form Devdutt Padikkal.
The all-rounder, who stands close to 2m, used his tall frame to get the ball to bounce at an awkward height. Kohli, who opened the innings for the first time tried to run down a delivery that came into him to the fine-leg fielder but was caught out by the extra bounce and could only glove the ball to the wicketkeeper. Padikkal, too, fell in similar fashion, trying to pull a short ball that cramped him up and could only hit it straight to the short-midwicket fielder.
Like he did in the league game against the same opponent, Holder chipped in with the bat as well with an unbeaten 20-ball 24. From 67 for four in the 12th over, Kane Williamson and Holder had to fight hard to get the remaining 65 runs needed for the win.
Holder played a supporting role to Williamson, who anchored the chase, before coming up with a crucial boundary early in the 19th over to ease the pressure. Fittingly, Holder hit two more in the final over to finish off the last eight runs.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 132 for 4 (Williamson 50 not out, Holder 24 not out) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 131 for 7 (de Villiers 56, Finch 32, Holder 3-25, Natarajan 2-33) by six wickets.