When Kane Williamson smashed 28 runs off the final over to take the Sunrisers Hyderabad score to 175 runs and they had the top three Royal Challengers’ batsmen back in the pavilion in the first three overs, you might have thought that Sunrisers were through to the playoffs given their high net run rate. Two underused Royal Challengers batsmen, Shimron Hetmyer and Gurkeerat Singh had other plans though. They scored 140 runs between them in 95 balls to leave Sunrisers hoping that Mumbai Indians will do them a favour and get the better of Kolkata Knight Riders in the last match of the league.
Royal Challengers Bangalore started the chase disastrously. Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were dismissed inside three overs with only 20 runs on the board. Shimron Hetmyer had played in the first four matches for his team and managed a paltry 15 runs. Gurukeerat Singh’s contribution to the team effort was 35 runs scored in two innings. While Hetmyer brought up his fifty off only 32 balls with 3 boundaries and 4 sixes, 3 of the coming off the bowling of Rashid Khan. Gurkeerat in the meanwhile was rotating the strike, running hard and putting the bad balls away.
With fifteen overs gone by, Royal Challengers were 130 for 3 wickets needing another 46 runs at 9.2 runs an over. Gurkeerat exploded in the sixteenth over. He scored three boundaries of the Vijay Kumar to bring up his fifty off 39 balls. Shimron Hetmyer hit another six off Rashid Khan in the eighteenth over before the wily spinner got his man. By the time Hetmyer was out on 75 off 47 balls, RCB needed just 12 runs off 15 balls. There was a scare as Gurukeerat Singh (65 off 48 balls) and Washington Sundar got out to successive balls in the very next over. But Umesh Yadav laid fears to rest by hitting two boundaries and seeing RCB home.
Earlier Sunrisers Hyderabad got off to a great start with Martin Guptill going after Navdeep Saini and Wridhiman Saha hitting three consecutive boundaries off Yzuvendra Yadav. A desperate Kohli didn’t know where to look after misfielding a ball that led to unnecessary four runs and Chahal dropped a sitter as SRH raced to 44 runs off three overs. But Saha couldn’t maintain his poise as he fell trying to hit Saini over mid-on. Another underutilised bowler, Washington Sunder, delivered on the very second ball of his over as he had a set Guptill lob a simple catch to short mid-wicket. Three balls later he had the in-form Manish Pandey caught by a diving Hetmyer.
It was left to Kane Williamson who has got into double figure only twice this season and World cup bund Vijay Shankar to revive the SRH inning. Vijay Shankar added 27 runs to the 45 runs fourth wicket partnership before he became Washington Sunder’s third victim. With wicket falling around him Kane Williamson broke free of his run a ball tempo. He hit two of his four sixes in the fifteenth over off Kulwant Khejroliya taking SRH to 122 for 4 wickets. With Williamson running out of partners, Srh seemed to be headed to a below-par score of around 155 runs.
All that changed in the last over bowled by Umesh Yadav. With Yadav bowling consistently on a length outside the off stump, Williamson picked him for two sixes and two boundaries in the first four balls. Umpire David Nigel then called no-ball which when shown on the big screen turned out to be not one. Nevertheless, Williamson scored two runs off that ball and got a single off the next. Bhuvaneshwar finished the inning with a four of his own as SRH raced from 147 to 175 runs off the last over. Kane Williamson remained not out 70 off 43 balls, the only half-century of the season for a man who had walked away with the Orange Cap in the last. Despite his brilliant effort Williamson ended up on the losing side and can only wait till the last match of the league to decide the fortunes of his team.