An outstanding all-round bowling performance followed by Kane Williamson’s masterly unbeaten knock of 50, ensured Sunrisers Hyderabad continued its winning run, beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in the Eliminator at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Electing to bowl, SRH restricted RCB to just 131 for seven, led by Jason Holder’s brilliant spell of three for 25. In reply, despite a hiccup during the middle phase, following a strong start in the PowerPlay, Williamson ensured his side will face Delhi Capitals in the second Qualifier on Sunday.
Holder and Sandeep Sharma set the tone early for SRH with a tight spell in the PowerPlay before spinners Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem applied the squeeze in the middle overs.
Except for A.B. de Villiers’s 56 (43b, 5×4) and Aaron Finch’s 32 (30b, 3×4, 1×6), none of the top-order batsmen even managed to get into double figures.
Skipper Virat Kohli, who has not had his best IPL season, opened the innings to lead from the front but the move did not work. He gloved a rising delivery from Holder down the leg-side to wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami — in for an injured Wriddhiman Saha — in the second over.
While Sandeep was miserly from one end with his swing, Holder troubled the batsmen with his attacking line. He also used his tall frame to good effect to get the ball to bounce at an awkward height and had Devdutt Padikkal caught, pulling to short-midwicket.
Finch and de Villiers came together for a 41-run partnership for the third wicket. After the Power Play, the spinners did not let the pressure ease, with Shahbaz Nadeem in particular keeping de Villiers quiet by attacking the batsman while Rashid Khan was at his accurate best.
Just as Finch started to find his feet — he hit the only six of the innings, slogging Rashid over midwicket — Nadeem struck, removing the Australian with a wide delivery outside off that the batsman hit straight to the deep-cover fielder.
After being reduced to 62 for four by the 11th over, de Villiers took charge, slamming a couple of boundaries as he brought up his fifty.
But just when the South African was set for a final push to get RCB to a fighting total, Natarajan (two for 33), produced another of his brilliant yorkers to remove de Villiers’ middle stump.
That set the tone for the rest of the match.