Shimron Hetmyer returned to the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up for the first time in a month and made it count as his fifty secured a four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their final league game of IPL 2019.
Sunrisers posted 175-7 thanks to a captain’s knock of 70 from Kane Williamson. RCB were rocked early, reduced to 20-3 before Hetmyer (75) and Gurkeerat Singh (65) added 144 runs to take the hosts close to victory on Saturday.
Hyderabad ended the league phase on 12 points and will now have to hope Kolkata Knight Riders – also on 12 points but with an inferior net run rate – lose their final game against Mumbai Indians on Sunday to secure playoff qualification.
Sundar reins Hyderabad in
Sunrisers made a decent start with openers Wriddhiman Saha and Martin Guptill added 46 inside five overs. But the introduction of spinner Washington Sundar put a brake on the scoring.
The offie removed opener Guptill before having in-form Manish Pandey caught acrobatically by Hetmyer. Sundar also accounted for the dangerous Vijay Shankar, capping a superb day with the ball as he finished with 3-24 from his three fours.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had a brilliant day as well, giving away just 24 runs from his four overs.
Kane the leader
Captain Kane Williamson was left with it all to do. He hardly got any support from the rest of the line-up, with the exception of Shankar, and it was because of his 43-ball 70 that Sunrisers managed a respectable total of 175-7.
The Kiwi kept the madness for the final over – bowled by Umesh Yadav – to really twist the knife into RCB. The first four balls were deposited for two fours and as many sixes. More pain was in store as umpire Nigel Llong mistakenly called the fifth ball a no-ball. The extra ball was hit for a four as 28 runs came from the final over.
Bhuvi swings it before Hetmyer blitz
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the master of extracting every bit of movement out of a pitch. He was on top of his game on Saturday, getting Parthiv Patel’s leading edge to point and then snaring AB de Villiers with an away swinger to slip. Captain Virat Kohli fell to left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed at the other end as RCB were staring down the barrel at 20-3.
Caribbean southpaw Hetmyer came into the tournament as the one of the more expensive buys at half a million dollars. But he had to be benched after a disastrous start. More than one month after playing his previous game, Hetmyer got a look in again and he seemed a different player without the pressure of expectations or playoff qualification.
While he wasn’t the smoothest batsman out there, Hetmyer showed glimpses of why Bangalore had invested in him. The left-handed dasher added 144 runs for the fourth wicket with Gurkeerat which took Bangalore to the brink of victory.
Hetmyer’s innings should have ended soon after he had reached fifty, with Yusuf Pathan dropping a dolly at point.
Bangalore slipped at the end but recovered thanks to pacer Umesh who made up for his horror bowling effort by hitting two fours in the final over to seal the win.
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