The unprecedented season of Indian Premier League has now entered into its play-offs stage. After Mumbai Indians booked their place in the final yesterday, it is time for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad to fight it out for a place in the second qualifier.
After being sent in on a difficult pitch, RCB batsmen never looked comfortable. Almost all of them struggled to find their timings against a high-class bowling attack. Even a change in their batting lineup couldn’t inflict any changes to their batting fortunes.
One batsman who looked good to some extent was AB de Villiers. He played some of his breathtaking shots and brought up his rearguard fifty. He was all set to explode in last couple of overs when T Natarajan came on to bowl 18th over of the innings. After dismissing Washington Sundar on the first ball, he produced one of the deliveries of this season to go past AB de Villiers with a Yorker from the top drawer. Coming from a small village in Tamil Nadu, T Natarajan has made an image for himself of bowling immaculate Yorkers and to get through a well-set AB de Villiers is no mean feat by any stretch.
The move of opening with captain Virat Kohli didn’t paid rich dividends to RCB as he was dismissed very early by Jason Holder. Devdutt Padikkal also went soon after and that put RCB under significant pressure. Aaron Finch and AB de Villiers tried to build a bit of momentum but former was always struggling in a horrid stay at the crease.
AB de Villiers made a crucial 56 but lower-middle order failed to deliver any substantial contributions. As a result, they were restricted to just 131 runs from 20 overs. Jason Holder scalped 3 wickets while T Natarajan took a couple. This total looks below par even for difficult batting conditions and RCB bowlers will have to bowl out of their skins to defend this.