Sunrisers Hyderabad made a few changes that were bordering on the self-evident, and saw the tweaking bear fruit as they beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in what was a must-win game for both sides.
The result handed Chennai a slot in the play-offs while now both Hyderabad and Bangalore will need to win all their games and hope other results go their way. Hyderabad have struggled to find an opening pair all season and even took the captaincy away from Shikhar Dhawan to see if it would help him concentrate better on his batting. In the bowling department, it seemed the off-colour Amit Mishra was undoing all the good work done by purple cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Dale Steyn with the new ball.
For the crunch game, Hyderabad pushed the in-form David Warner up to the opening slot and replaced Mishra with all-rounder Parvez Rasool. The moves worked like a dream. Rasool (4-0-26-1) was instrumental in keeping Bangalore quiet in the middle overs after Steyn and Kumar had strangled the side during the powerplay.
Bangalore managed 160, thanks in main to Virat Kohli’s 67 off 41 balls (4x4, 4x6), but were kept in check for large stretches of the innings. Still, for Hyderabad to win, they would have had to chase the highest score in their so far admittedly short stay in the tournament.
That this was possible was mainly due to the 100-run opening partnership between Dhawan (50 off 39 balls, 7x4, 1x6) and Warner (59 off 46 balls, 3x4, 4x6). The changes brought Hyderabad obvious success, but the side more or less played a perfect game, and it was only the brilliance of Kohli that threatened to take the game away from them.
Bangalore chose to bat first, but Chris Gayle continued his struggles overall and against Steyn in particular. The West Indian’s strike rate against Steyn across IPLs is less than a run a ball and he got no respite from Kumar from the other end.
By the end of the powerplay, Bangalore had just managed 25/2 — their third total of 25 or below in the first six overs this tournament. With Rasool and Sharma keeping the good work going, Bangalore were finding the going tough despite having Kohli and Yuvraj Singh at the crease. The first 10 overs yielded just 48 runs.
Then, Kohli teed off against Rasool and Yuvraj against Sharma, picking up