AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali struck breezy half-centuries as Royal Challengers Bangalore held their nerves under pressure to eke out a 14-run win over table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win match and stay alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
Put in to bat, RCB posted a mammoth 218 for six before surviving a scare from Sunrisers skipper Kane Williamson (81 off 42) and Manish Pandey (62 off 38) to restrict the visitors to 204 for three.
De Villiers (69 off 39) and Ali (65 off 34) overcame a bad start to stitch 107 runs off just 57 balls for the third wicket to not only set the platform for RCB’s total but also keep their team in contention.
Chasing the mammoth total, Sunrisers started on a positive note piling up 47 runs off the first five overs before Shikhar Dhawan hit one straight back to Yuzvendra Chahal off his own bowling in the next over.
Alex Hales (37 off 24) was going great guns before De Villiers pulled off a blinder of a one-handed catch at midwicket boundary off Ali to sent the Englishman back.
But Sunrisers captain Williamson had other intentions as he took the attack to the opposition and hit Tim Southee for consecutive boundaries before clobbering Ali for two fours and six in the next over to keep his team abreast with the required run rate.
Williamson went about his business in elegant fashion without taking much risk and was ably supported by Pandey at the other end as the duo stitched magnificent 135 runs for the second wicket off just 68 deliveries to virtually take Sunrisers home.
Williamson, in particular, looked in sublime touch as he struck the balls to all parts of the ground without taking any undue risk, while Pandey took his time to get going.
But eventually, the required rate proved to be too tall for the Sunrisers as Southee produced some brilliant death bowling display to deny an improbable win for the visitors.
Southee produced a brilliant 16th over that yielded just six runs and then came back an over later to give Sunrisers a 20-run target from the last over.
But it was not to be as Williamson’s dismissal in the first delivery of the final over sealed Sunrisers fate and they eventually fell short by 14 runs.
By virtue of this win, RCB has climbed up to the fifth spot with 12 points from 13 games and need to win their last league game against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Saturday to harbour any play-off hopes.
Here is how the Twitterverse reacted to the match:
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) May 17, 2018
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) May 17, 2018
Spirited effort from the Sunrisers trying to chase 219. Williamson was absolutely superb. Still can’t get over that catch from De villiers to dismiss Hales. RCB are well and truly in it , and after looking down and out after the first half are now at No5 in points table #RCBvSRH
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) May 17, 2018
. @RCBTweets still in with a challenge! Glad! cuz whats an IPL without King Kohli @imVkohli 👑 & @ABdeVilliers17 whatta playa! No words🙏🏽 #RCBvSRH Southee has his say in th death 💀 gotta applaud th great attitude from @SunRisers such fierce competitors! Kane Williamson MVP?
— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) May 17, 2018
— SONAL CHAUHAN (@sonalchauhan7) May 17, 2018
— Rishabh Srivastava (@AskRishabh) May 17, 2018
Thriller! Sensational chase by Williamson & Pandey. Bangalore lucky to get Williamson just when he threatened to run away with game.
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) May 17, 2018
— CricketTimes.com (@CricketTimesHQ) May 17, 2018
Deserves a standing ovation, does Kane Williamson. 👏 👏 #RCBvSRH
— Nikhil Chinapa (@nikhilchinapa) May 17, 2018
Magician . #ABD. You've got to be here to hear the chant!
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 17, 2018
Politics or cricket, Karnataka is keeping us at the edge of our seats! What a fantastic match #RCBvSRH
— Pranitha Subhash (@pranitasubhash) May 17, 2018
Yesssss Moooooo ! #RCB
— Danielle Wyatt (@Danni_Wyatt) May 17, 2018
T20 cricket isn’t just about power, it’s also about being smart and playing to your strengths and Williamson is doing exactly that
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) May 17, 2018
14 Points for KKR
12 Points for MI
12 Points for RR
12 Points for KXIP
12 Points for RCB
Five teams fighting for two spots!
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) May 17, 2018