Kane Williamson opined that the track at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi was a tough one after Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by six wickets in the IPL 2020 Eliminator on Friday.
Chasing a modest total of 132 runs to win, Williamson produced a masterclass on a slow surface with an unbeaten 50 off 44 balls to guide his team home.
“Look it was a tough game. It was never going to be easy against a class side like RCB. The surface was a little tricky and chasing anything on it wasn’t easy. It was a challenge for us to restrict them to that kind of a total. They also had two world-class spinners. We did well to go through their spells without losing too many wickets,” Williamson, who won the Player of the Match said.
Sunrisers was in trouble when Williamson walked in but the New Zealand skipper stitched an unbeaten 65 runs partnership with Jason Holder (24 off 20) to take the game away from Bangalore.
“Batting at No. 4 can vary a lot and becomes surface dependent. A few shots from Jason helped. The guys have been fighting hard. He (Holder) is cooler than me. The all-rounder role in the team has been well held by him,” he said.
Winning skipper David Warner heaped praise on pacer T. Natarajan and spinner Rashid Khan as Sunrisers came up with an excellent show to restrict Bangalore to 131/7 in 20 overs.
“As we knew we had to beat top three teams to make it into the play-offs. They (Natarajan and Rashid) have been of great impact for us. We like to bowl Sandy (Sandeep Sharma) and Holder five overs at the top. Then we try to bowl Rashid and Natarajan in the middle overs. Rashid has a lot of pressure on him to perform,” Warner said.
The Hyderabad skipper heaped praise on Williamson, whose batting heroics helped the team march ahead.
“Kane is our banker. He manages to stick in there and plays the pressure innings. I am running out of superlatives for these two blokes (Rashid and Kane),” he added.
Virat Kohli’s RCB is yet to win an IPL title and the skipper rued the fact that his team didn’t post enough runs on the board.
“If you talk about the first innings I don’t think we had enough runs on the board. We made one helluva game in the second half, the positions we got ourselves into in the second half. It is a game of margins and if Kane was taken there then it is a different ball game. Altogether they put us under a lot of pressure in the first innings. Few soft dismissals, few fortunate ones for them as well and we just didn’t have enough runs on the board.
“Maybe a bit of nerves, maybe a bit of hesitation, we need to be more expressive with the bat. We didn’t have any phases in the game where we got away from the opposition. We just allowed bowlers to bowl to the areas they wanted to and didn’t put enough pressure on them. In the last 2-3 games we have hit it straight to the fielders, lot of good shots going to the fielders. It has been a strange kind of phase in the last 4-5 games,” Kohli said.
When asked about the positives from his side, Kohli said that young opener Devdutt Padikkal and Yuzvendra Chahal along with Ab de Villiers were the stand-out performers this season.
“Couple of people have stood and had a good season, Devdutt is one of them and Siraj has had a good comeback. Yuzi has been solid as ever, AB has been solid as ever. Couple of positives for RCB and Devdutt is one of them, he stepped up nicely and getting 400+ runs is not easy. He has played with a lot of class and efficiency for the team. Very happy for him. The others contributed but just not enough,” Kohli said.