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Thanks to a triple-blow by Shane Watson, followed by the first hat-trick of the tournament a la Pravin Tambe, the Rajasthan Royals were able to ride home with a 10-run win in Ahmedabad. After posting 170 for six, RR were initially unable to create any dents in the KKR line-up, thanks to a 121-run opening stand between Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir. However, the match took a sharp turn in the 15th over, as six wickets fell in the space of eight deliveries, courtesy the Watson-Tambe show. KKR could not recover from these setbacks and could only manage 160 for six at the end of 20 overs.
Earlier, KKR won the toss and opted to field first. RR opened their innings with Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair. Both batsmen began on a positive note and scored 50 runs in the powerplay. However, a sharp piece of fielding by Sunil Narine ran Rahane (30) out in the seventh over. Sanju Samson walked in at No.3 for RR. Along with Nair, he took the score to 76 for one at the halfway mark. And then, the pair brought up RR’s 100 in the 13th over of the innings.
However, soon thereafter, Shakib Al Hasan had Nair (44) stumped with the scorecard reading 105 for two in 13.3 overs. This wicket brought Shane Watson to the crease. The RR skipper did not waste any time before going after the opposition bowlers, and started striking the ball to, and over, the fence at regular intervals. Meanwhile, Samson (37) failed in his attempt to dispatch Narine out of the park and holed out near the deep midwicket fence. Watson (31) then took his side past the 150-run mark in the 18th over. But Narine soon dismissed him, thanks to a well-judged catch – which required some fancy footwork – by Suryakumar Yadav.
The KKR fielder then plucked off another outfield catch – this time to get rid of Steve Smith off Vinay Kumar’s bowling. And then soon after, Ryan ten Doeschate pouched a remarkable catch of his own – to see Stuart Binny’s (11) back in the final over. But thanks to a late big hit by Rajat Bhatia (6*), RR managed to salvage the 20th over and ended up posting 170 for six.
In response, Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir came out to bat at the top of the KKR order. And just like the RR openers, even this duo added 50 runs in the powerplay while taking advantage of any loose offerings from the opposition bowlers. The pair continued to score freely while ensuring their opening stand remained intact. Uthappa, who took charge of the partnership, even reached his half-century a short while before KKR reached the three-figure mark.
Despite the RR bowlers’ best efforts, there was no sign of a wicket as even Gambhir (54) reached his fifty in the 14th over. But finally, the KKR skipper departed off the bowling of Watson with the score on 121. The RR skipper then got Uthappa (65) out two balls later; and finally, much to the delight of the local supporters, Watson bowled Andre Russell (1) out off the fifth delivery of the same over.
Then, Pravin Tambe further swung the momentum in RR’s favour by effecting the stumping of Manish Pandey (0). From 121 for no loss, KKR had stumbled to 123 for four in a matter of six deliveries. And just when things could not get any worse for the visitors, Tambe caught Yusuf Pathan off his own bowling on the very next ball. The 42-year-old leggie then bagged the first hat-trick of Pepsi IPL 2014 by trapping ten Doeschate (0) leg-before off the very next ball. At the end of the eventful 16th over, KKR were struggling on 126 for six.
Then, with 39 needed off 18 balls, Shakib Al Hasan played a key role in plundering 15 runs from the 18th over. James Faulkner then bowled the 19th over and ended up conceding just seven runs off it. With 17 required off six balls, Watson decided to roll his arm over and ended up sealing a 10-run win for his side.
After the match, Pravin Tambe was presented the Purple Cap for rising atop the Pepsi IPL 2014 wicket-takers list with a total of 12 scalps.
Man of the Match: Pravin Tambe for his game-changing hat-trick.
A packed house at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium witnessed one of the most remarkable innings from one of the most remarkable batsmen in the world today. Thanks to AB de Villiers’ (89*) blitz, the Royal Challengers Bangalore overcame the 155-run total posted by Sunrisers Hyderabad. The South African batsman played every shot in the book and beyond as he smashed six fours and eight maximums during his 41-ball knock.
Earlier, RCB won the toss and asked SRH to take first strike. Aaron Finch and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for the visitors. The duo added 20 runs, before Mitchell Starc had Finch (13) caught behind in the third over. Lokesh Rahul (6), who walked in at No.3, did not last long either; he ended up nicking an Ashok Dinda delivery into the safe hands of Chris Gayle at first slip. David Warner then joined Dhawan, and the duo took SRH to 48 for two at the end of the Powerplay.
Both batters continued to carve runs off the RCB bowlers and kept building a solid platform to launch off in the latter overs. Thanks to the third-wicket stand, the SRH score had reached 72 at the halfway stage. However, Varun Aaron broke their partnership by claiming the wicket of Dhawan (37) in the 13th over. With the scorecard reading 91 for three at that point and a well-set Warner still around, Darren Sammy (8), the next man in, was presented with the ideal opportunity to accelerate. However, he could not make the most of the situation and perished while attempting a big one off Harshal Patel.
However, Warner continued to plunder runs by way of regular fours and sixes and soon reached his half-century. And towards the end, even Naman Ojha (15) joined in the act of big-hitting, but he got out trying to slice an Aaron delivery over the off-side fence. Even Warner (61) was cleaned up by Starc in the final over of the innings. Irfan Pathan (4*) and Karn Sharma (1*) then hung around for the remainder of the 20th over to ensure SRH got to 155 for six.
In response, RCB lost Parthiv Patel early; Bhuvneshwar Kumar knocked his stumps over off the first ball he bowled. The SRH pacer then dealt a telling blow by claiming the crucial wicket of RCB skipper Virat Kohli (0) just five balls later. With the home team struggling on six for two at the end of two overs, debutant Rilee Rossouw joined Chris Gayle in the middle. And much to the relief of the RCB faithful, Gayle (27) finally unleashed. He struck three fours and two massive sixes during a brief display that entertained the crowd more than it helped RCB’s run-chase. Karn Sharma ended the dangerous RCB opener’s 19-ball blitz in the seventh over.
Karn Sharma then got rid of Rossouw (14) by trapping him leg-before wicket in the 11th over. With AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh taking strike, RCB still needed 97 runs off 59 balls. While de Villiers took the attack to the SRH bowlers, Yuvraj Singh (14) became Karn Sharma’s third victim of the night. Meanwhile, de Villiers kept going from strength to strength – slog-sweeping and reverse-sweeping at will. He even reached his half-century in the process.
Thanks to his exploits, the run-chase equation read 28 off 12 balls as the match was headed to a dramatic finish. However, de Villiers broke the tension with two back-to-back sixes off Dale Steyn to bring the equation down to 16 off 10 balls. A couple of deliveries later, he struck a four over extra cover off the pacer. And finally, he topped it off with an incredible scoop over fine-leg that landed straight in the stands. That Steyn over produced a staggering – and game-changing – 24 runs. And while Starc (5) was run-out off the first ball of the 20th over, de Villiers (89*) took RCB over the line with a four through midwicket with one ball to spare.
Man of the Match: AB de Villiers for his match-winning innings.