Sharjah: Pushed to the wall, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) produced a clinical performance to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by five wickets and stay alive in the Indian Premier League play-offs race, here on Saturday.
SRH first produced a brilliant bowling effort to restrict a batting-heavy RCB to a modest 120/7 and then chased down the target in 14.1 overs to zoom to fourth spot in the standings from seventh.
SRH now have 12 points from 13 games and need to win their last league game against table-toppers Mumbai Indians to stay in the hunt.
RCB, who needed a win to seal their play-offs berth, slumped to their third consecutive defeat in the tournament but stayed at second place with 14 points from 13 games.
The 121-run target was always going to be a walk in the park for SRH in a small ground like Sharjah unless RCB inflicted early damage which they failed to do.
RCB removed SRH skipper David Warner (8) early but they needed more wickets up front to be in the contest.
After Warner's dismissal, Wriddhiman Saha (39) and Manish Pandey (26 off 19) shared 50 runs for the second wicket in quick time to take control of the chase.
But some brilliant spin bowling from Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle overs and over cautious batting from SRH gave RCB hope.
Chahal dismissed Pandey and Saha and then Kane Williamson (8) was sent back by Isuru Udana to give RCB a ray of hope even though the contest was tilted very much in favour of SRH.
Jason Holder played a 10-ball unbeaten 26 to take SRH home comfortably.
Earlier, SRH strangled RCB by picking up wickets at regular intervals after opting to bowl.
Young Devdutt Padikkal (5) and skipper Virat Kohli (7) departed in quick succession, falling to Sandeep Sharma (2/20). Sandeep has now dismissed Kohli seven times in the IPL.
AB de Villiers made a run-a-ball 24 before perishing and then Josh Philippe (32) again got a start but failed to capitalise. He was caught by Manish Pandey off Rashid Khan (1/24) in the next over as RCB slumped to 76/4 in 11.4 overs.
RCB were done in by some incisive bowling from SRH bowlers up front, resulting in lack of partnerships.
RCB's struggle with the bat can be gauged from the fact that they hit only nine boundaries and a six in their entire innings despite having the likes of Padikkal, Kohli, de Villers and Chris Morris in their ranks.
After the early blows, Washington Sundar (21) and Gurkeerat Singh (15 not out) tried to resurrect the innings with a 30-run fifth-wicket stand but they never got the momentum.
Both Sundar and Morris departed in quick succession to add misery to RCB's woes.
Holder too shone bright with the ball with figures of 2/27 from his four overs.