Spinner Shahbaz Ahmed unlikely hero in RCB's 6-run win over SRH
Chennai, April 14, 2021
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) picked up three wickets in one over to help his team script a sensational six-run win over SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.
Chasing a modest target of 149 set by the RCB, SRH were cruising till Ahmed came to bowl his second over, the 17th of the innings. Before that, SRH had got off to a rousing start with skipper David Warner (54 off 37 balls) and Manish Pandey (38 off 39 balls) adding 83 runs for the second wicket.
Even after the departure of Warner, they were in the game, needing 35 runs off 24 balls with eight wickets in hand, when Ahmed, who represnts Bengal in the domestic circuit, came to bowl the 17th over and changed the fate of the match in a space of six deliveries.
Ahmed dismissed Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey and Abudus Samad of the first, second and sixth deliveries, all caught while trying to play against the spin, to turn the tide in his team's favour.
Bairstow was caught at short mid-wicket by wicketkeeper Ab de Villiers, Pandey was caught at short third man by Harshal Patel while Samad was caught and bowled with Ahmed taking a skier. He conceded just one run in that over as the equation suddenly changed to 34 off 18 deliveries.
Pressure set in and Vijay Shankar was caught in the deep off Patel while Jason Holder followed soon, holing out in the deep off the bowling of Mohammed Siraj.
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan tried to win it for SRH with a few lusty blows, bringing the equation down to eight runs off four balls, but he ran out of steam and was run out two balls later. For RCB, Siraj and Harshal Patel chipped in with identical figures of 2/25 from four overs.
Earlier, SRH bowlers, led by Jason Holder (3/30) and Rashid (2/18), had restricted RCB to 149/8 after it looked at one point of time that RCB would cruise to a big score.
At 91/2 after 12 overs, it looked like the RCB trio of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers would take the SRH bowlers to the cleaners.
However, led by the Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid, SRH conceded just 18 runs in the next five overs while picking up four wickets. Rashid took two wickets for seven runs in his two overs in that phase.
Some power-hitting by Maxwell (59 off 41 balls) and a 9-ball 12 by Kyle Jamieson took RCB to their eventual score of 149/8.
Maxwell, who was the top-scorer for his team, was dismissed off the last ball of the innings. He hit three sixes and five fours after having walked in to bat at No. 4.
For SRH, West Indian Holder, who got the prized scalps of Kohli and Maxwell, was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 3/30 in four overs.
Rashid, who dismissed the RCB trumpcard AB de Villiers (1 off 5 balls), finished with 2/18 from his four overs.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 149/8 in 20 overs (G Maxwell 59, V Kohli 33, J Holder 3/30, R Khan 2/18) beat SunRisers Hyderabad 143/9 in 20 overs (D Warner 54, M Pandey 38, S Ahmed 3/7, M Siraj 2/25, H Patel 2/25) by six runs.