From the way the first few matches of the Indian phase of the IPL 2014 have panned out it could be said that most of the teams are enjoying their home conditions. The trend has continued in the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad that took place on May 4 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The home team, who looked like losing the match going into the dying stages, was able to snatch a victory from the very jaws of defeat thanks to a spectacular blitzkrieg down the order by AB de Villiers.
Team composition: Sunrisers made one change to their team – they brought in Ishant Sharma for Amit Mishra who had failed to fire in the tournament so far. Royal Challengers also dropped Albie Morkel and Yogesh Takawale and introduced Rilee Rossouw and Harshal Patel.
Batting: Bangalore won the toss and opted to field first. Hyderabad got to a competitive total of 155 thanks to the efforts of David Warner (61 from 49 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (37 from 36 balls). Unfortunately, the others were not able to contribute and this meant that the side could not put up an even bigger total.
AB de Villiers (89 not out from 41 balls), as stated earlier, was the chief architect of Bangalore’s victory. He singlehandedly smote 6 boundaries and 8 over boundaries and punished Hyderabad’s leading bowlers to make sure that his team got home in the end. In some sense this would also have been a fitting reply to critics who had stated the typical South African mentality of choking at crucial times for the Bangalore based team losing in the final ball against Kolkata Knight Riders. His domination could be gauged from the fact that Chris Gayle with 27 from 19 balls was the next best contributor.
Bowling: Mitchell Starc was the standout bowler for RCB with 2 for 21 and received significant support from fellow fast bowler Varun Aaron (2 for 33). Patel (1 for 29) and Ashok Dinda (1 for 39) picked up wickets as well. Together, the fast bowlers of RCB were instrumental in keeping SRH to a gettable total.
Karn Sharma (3 for 17) was the standout bowler for SRH and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 16) once again bowled exceptionally well. However, the failure of the remaining bowlers – Dale Steyn, Ishant, Irfan Pathan and Darren Sammy – to either pick up wickets or keep a lid on runs proved to be really costly for the SRH in the end and they lost a game that they should have won.
Where do the teams go from here?
Royal Challengers will be elated with a fantastic win and will also be happy with the team combination that they have settled on as of now. The team looks settled and the franchise will be eager that this situation continues for the remainder of the tournament.
Sunrisers Hyderabad will be disappointed with how they have lost the match which, till the final stages, seemed to be in their pocket. However, they need to look into Sammy’s position. He, unlike last year, has not been able to perform well and perhaps someone like Brendan Taylor needs to be given a chance so that the batting can be strengthened further. David Warner, in fine fettle, needs to be restored to the top of the order with Aaron Finch and from there they would be able to control the game better. Dhawan should be asked to demote himself and play at one down.
With Taylor in the side the team will have the additional batsman it needs. In case, Dhawan wants an additional bowler he can have Pervez Rasool instead of Lokesh Rahul who has been provided enough chances but has not exactly proved himself so far. It is always okay to have faith in your players and provide them enough opportunities to prove themselves. However, with their present situation they are being obstinate with regards to certain off form players. They need to take some hard decisions now if they are serious about making it to the playoffs.