IPL 2018: Moeen Ali impresses and other takeaways as RCB beat SRH in high-scoring thriller

Denzil Pinto 17/05/2018
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Bleeding red: Royal Challengers Bangalore

AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali scored half-centuries as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their slim IPL play-off hopes alive in a high-scoring encounter against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad.

De Villiers and Moeen were in fine form, scoring 69 and 65 respectively, as RCB posted a mammoth 218-6 in their 20 overs despite Rashid Khan taking three wickets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday night. That total looked to be enough to seal a convincing win but it was anything but as Hyderabad came close only to fall short by 14 runs.

Kane Williamson top-scored with 81 before Manish Pandey hit an unbeaten 62 as the visitors reached 204-3.

The result sees Bangalore move up to fifth in the standings with 12 points while Hyderabad remain top with 18 points, with one game still to play.

Here, we look at the takeaways from the match:

AB DE VILLIERS TORMENTS SUNRISERS HYDERABAD YET AGAIN

The South African didn’t even take to the crease in RCB’s 10-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab but lit up the IPL with another fine innings. Perhaps his 69 runs off 39 deliveries really shouldn’t be a surprise considering he had scored 380 runs off 219 deliveries, averaging 42.2 with a strike rate of 173.5 against Sunrisers previously. Coming in with the score 6-1 and just six balls bowled, the pressure was on but De Villiers showed such composure to rescue his team and put on a show of the highest order.

While Moeen Ali went for the sixes, De Villiers went for the fours (12) and one six and most crucially put on a 107-run stand with Moeen for the third wicket. The only thing that was missing was a deserved century but fans wouldn’t have too many complaints especially as it was a stunning catch from Shikhar Dhawan.

Later, he defied physics by taking a one-handed grab to dismiss Alex Hales at the boundary.

MOEEN ALI SEND OUT A REMINDER OF HIS POTENTIAL TO ENGLAND SELECTORS

Just 48 hours after being left out of England’s squad for their first Test against Pakistan, Moeen Ali responded in style by letting the bat do the talking. Moeen had to bide his time to don the Royal Challengers Bangalore jersey, making his debut only on May 7 in the corresponding fixture. He went on to make a further two appearances but never exactly showed the form that made RCB pay £187,000 for his services.

But all that changed on Thursday evening. The 30-year-old was fortunate not to be out on 23 when Dhawan caught his attempt, only for him to touch the boundary and the Englishman made Sunrisers pay by smashing six sixes and two fours in his 34-ball 65-run knock. More performances like this and surely it’s only a matter of time before he’s recalled to the Test fold.

SHOULD UMPIRES GET TIME LIMITS?

Fans inside the stadium and indeed the TV viewers were left frustrated by how long it took for the umpire to decide over whether De Villiers’ shot had gone for a six or four in the fifth over. Unsure whether the ball had hit the ropes or bounced before, he consulted television replays from three different angles before a zoomed in image was provided after two minutes.

Replays appeared to show the ball hitting the ropes before bouncing back into play. By the time he had signaled the four, between two and three minutes were lost and surely it raises questions whether there should be time limits for umpire decisions for the game to glow.

SUNRISERS NEARLY PULL OFF AN UNLIKELY WIN

Chasing a score of 211 in T20 cricket is by no means easy and when you’re 64-2 with seven overs gone, the task is even more harder.

But the way Williamson and Pandey batted to nearly see Sunrisers home proved why they are serious challengers for the IPL title. Bangalore were not at their best in the fielding department and gifted their opposition the runs but Willamson (81 from 42) and Pandey (62no from 38) were on a different level as they orchestrated a remarkable chase only to fall short by 14 runs. Greater tests lie await but coach Tom Moody will be pleased the batsmen have the mentality to deal with gigantic scores going into the business end of tournament.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Chennai Super Kings aim to clinch top-two place against Delhi Daredevils

Denzil Pinto 17/05/2018
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Leading by example: Chennai captain MS Dhoni

On paper, nothing is riding on this match. Delhi Daredevils are for them, unfortunately assured of finishing the tournament in last place while Chennai Super Kings can look forward to the playoffs once the group stages conclude.

They sit second in the standings but another win would boost their hopes of finishing in the top two – and a place in next week’s Qualifier 1.

Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of Friday’s game at Feroz Shah Kotla (6.30pm).

NO ROOM FOR CHENNAI TO TAKE THEIR FOOT OFF THE GAS

Chennai Super Kings have shown on many occasions why they have won two successive IPL titles with eight wins in 12 matches this year. They have been consistent and delivered in big games too. Shane Watson seems to have rediscovered the form that made him one of the best all-rounders in the world while Ambati Rayudu is simply making a habit of scoring big runs with a tally of 535 already to his name.

While form has been the key to their success so far, so too is having a number of experienced players with captain MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo and Suresh Raina all in their ranks. Dhoni continues to lead by example and finishes games in typical style (he is the team’s third highest scorer) while Bravo has claimed nine wickets.

With the tournament reaching the business end and their players clicking, Super Kings will want to keep the momentum going into the playoffs and seal their place in the top-two with victory on Friday.

WILL SANDEEP LAMICHHANE KEEP HIS PLACE? 

The 17-year-old leg-spinner made history on Saturday by becoming the first Nepalese cricketer to play in the IPL against Royal Challengers Bangalore and he didn’t disappoint either with figures of 1-25 on his debut.

It begs the question whether fans will see more of him again? Given Delhi Daredevils are already out of contention, Lamichhane could well keep his place for the team’s final two games of the season. There’s nothing to lose but just gains for the youngster as playing more against world-class players will only help his confidence and development.

LIKELY TEAMS: 

DELHI DAREDEVILS: Prithvi Shaw, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Sham, Sandeep Lamichhane, Junior Dala and Trent Boult.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Billings, David Willey, Harbajhan Singh, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.

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RCB v SRH LIVE: AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali score half-centuries as Bangalore reach 218-6

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Winning roll: RCB. Image: IPL T20

It’s another game for Royal Challengers Bangalore where anything but a win against Sunrisers Hyderabad will keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

RCB come into the home clash on the back of two successive victories, yet they face a stern task against one of the in-form sides of the tournament. RCB can be encouraged that Kane Williamson’s side is already assured of a place in the play-offs but the 2016 winners will want to gain momentum going into the latter stages of the tournament.

Williamson won the toss and the Kiwi captain elected to bowl first with Basil Thampi for Bhuvneshwar Kumar the only change. Royal Challengers Bangalore are unchanged.

The decision to bowl first proved to be a mistake as Moeen Ali (65 off 34) and AB de Villiers (69 off 39) were in fine form with the bat as RCB reached a mammoth total of 218-6.

Follow all the live action below:

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