Sunrisers spice up fight for fourth
Sunrisers Hyderabad 161 for 3 (Dhawan 50, Warner 59) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 160 for 6 (Kohli 67) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Sunrisers Hyderabad appeared to be coasting towards their target of 161 after a strong opening stand, but managed to drag the chase into the last over to win by seven wickets and upset Royal Challengers Bangalore's plans of making the playoffs. Sunrisers needed 20 off the last two overs but Darren Sammy's salvo took them through with two balls to spare. Despite the victory, Sunrisers still need other results to go their way, as do Royal Challengers - both have ten points with two remaining games.
A predominantly one-sided chase turned competitive at the start of the 17th over, when Sunrisers needed 35 off 24 with nine wickets in hand. David Warner, set on 59, carved a high full toss from Varun Aaron straight to cover and his exit increased the required rate as Yuvraj Singh bowled a tight 18th over, giving away just seven runs. It came down to 17 off ten and a boundary was needed. Naman Ojha then sent the ball soaring over the second tier at deep cover and Aaron had his revenge when Ojha tamely scooped the next ball to cover.
Darren Sammy didn't need any sighters as he bashed his first ball flat over the straight boundary, bringing the equation down to less than a run a ball. He sealed the win by chipping a slower ball from Mitchell Starc over cover, giving Sunrisers a foot in the door as the scramble for fourth place got tighter.
Just as pleasing for Sunrisers was the fact that Shikhar Dhawan, who was relieved of the captaincy for the sake of his batting form, scored his first fifty. Sunrisers were dominant in the Powerplay, scoring 51. Dhawan scored boundaries off more conventional strokes while Warner wasn't afraid to play the reverse sweep against Muttiah Muralitharan. Royal Challengers used five bowlers inside the first ten overs but they had to wait till the 13th over for their first breakthrough. It came via a run-out, as Warner pushed the ball to backward point and set off but Dhawan wasn't quick enough to beat Yuvraj's throw.
The spinners did well in parts to keep the runs down, but when Warner struck Yuzvendra Chahal for consecutive sixes, the pressure was released. Royal Challengers did well to stay in the game after Warner departed, but 160 was only competitive, but insufficient.
Royal Challengers began sluggishly, scoring just two boundaries in the Powerplay. Sunrisers, in contrast, scored nine. Chris Gayle limped his way to 14 before falling cheaply and Yuvraj fell for a chancy 25-ball 21.
Royal Challengers managed only 48 off the first ten overs, but in the second half the innings picked up. Kohli took 19 off a Karn Sharma over with big hits down the ground and in two overs, they had scored 31. Sammy leaked 19 off his only over as Kohli and AB de Villiers helped themselves to a six each.
Kohli, who hadn't scored a fifty in the competition, finally got the monkey off his back. He lofted Irfan Pathan over long-on but was caught the following ball in attempting to clear long-off. He wasn't smiling in the end though, as Royal Challengers were left expecting favours from other sides to go through to the last four.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo