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Turning Point: Ahmed's three-wicket burst

By NORMA ASTRID GODINHO
April 15, 2021 07:17 IST
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Shahbaz Ahmed celebrates the wicket of Abdul Samad

IMAGE: RCB's Shahbaz Ahmed is hailed by team-mates Harshal Patel, Mohammad Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal after he caught and bowled SunRisers Hyderabad's Abdul Samad. Photograph: Indian Premier League/Twitter
 

On the back of Glenn Maxwell's half-century, Royal Challengers Bangalore managed to post 150. But with the slow, sticky, nature of the wicket at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, 150 was gettable but challenging on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

To stay in the hunt, both teams needed to bring on their A game during SRH's chase.

RCB gave themselves an early boost by dismissing opener Wriddhiman Saha in just the third over; the scorecard reading 13 for 1.

Manish Pandey played the big shots early in his innings while David Warner took to the attack at the other end. Most runs came courtesy some average RCB bowling that the batsmen took advantage of.

The duo played the big shots but also ran the singles and twos hard as they kept the scoreboard ticking. They paced their innings beautifully, barely playing a rash shot.

The run rate hovered around 7 and 8 runs per over as Warner and Pandey looked comfortable in the chase.

Warner scored a half-century in the 13th over and it looked like SunRisers were in for the win.

Warner was dismissed in the very next over, but SRH had the run rate in control and with Jonny Bairstow and Pandey going nicely, scoring at a run-a-ball, SRH would have thought they had the game in their pocket.

But the result of Monday's match between KKR and MI allowed RCB to keep the faith. Kohli had said at the toss that he expected the wicket to slow down later in the day and that is what happened eventually.

Kohli smartly brought in young left-arm orthodox spinner Shahbaz Ahmed and what masterstroke that proved to be!

Ahmed first had Bairstow top edge the full ball as he went for the slog sweep and caught by A B de Villiers who was waiting patiently to complete the catch.

Ahmed had Pandey, the other set batsman, caught out next. This time, Ahmed bowled the ball wide as he saw Manish coming down the pitch. The batsman slashed at it only to hand the catch straight to Harshal Patel at short third man.

Three balls later, Abdul Samad tried to get adventurous, but again a cross-batted shot and a top edge, the ball went sailing in the air and only to land in the hands of Ahmed waiting to complete the catch.

From 115 for 2, SRH were reduced to 116 for 5 in just one over.

That three wicket burst was enough to put Warner's team on the backfoot as they lost wickets every over with just no runs flowing off the bat -- pacers like Harshal and Mohammad Siraj later bowled slower cutters to make scoring difficult.

And even though Rashid Khan put on a little saviour act with some lusty hitting, it was never going to be enough as Ahmed had done enough to break Hyderabad's backbone and put the skids on the scoring to take RCB to victory.

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NORMA ASTRID GODINHO
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Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021