We've got time-outs, now what about time limits?
You don't expect an audible boo at the Chinnaswamy Stadium when AB de Villiers has just lofted one to the long-on boundary. But you cannot blame the fans when what follows the shot is nearly three minutes of the third umpire trying to determine whether the ball has hit the boundary rope on the full or bounced just before. What was particularly frustrating was that the umpire appeared to be watching the same set of three replays, as if hoping the same pictures would suddenly reveal new secrets. It was at least two minutes until a zoomed-in image was provided. It appeared to show that the ball had moved back into the field of play after hitting the rope, which would suggest it was a six. But the umpire erred on the side of caution and declared it a four, which raised the question of why he simply didn't do that in the first minute.
The third umpire, C Shamshuddin, was in the spotlight again when Tim Southee dived forward at deep square leg to take what looked like a brilliant catch to dismiss Alex Hales. The umpires wanted to confirm it had been taken cleanly. The soft signal was out and while there was a slight doubt that Southee may have let a small part of the ball kiss the ground, there didn't seem to be enough evidence to overturn the on-field umpire's call. Shamshuddin thought differently.
How did Thampi concede 70 in four overs?
Basil Thampi's strength is usually bowling full and straight, but Moeen Ali got under a full one first up and hit it for six over long-off, and followed up with a pulled six off the inevitably shorter follow-up.
Thampi initially adjusted by slowing his pace down. He sent down three slower balls in the latter part of that first over, conceding only three runs off them. Then, in his next over, he erred on the shorter side with his slower one and AB de Villiers picked it and scooped it for four. Thampi went back to bowling at regular pace and kept getting hit. It didn't help that he kept missing the yorker and bowled five full-tosses, which went for 21 runs.
When he did slow it up, he was successful, except when he bowled the change-up too short and gave the batsman time to adjust. Of the 25 balls he bowled, 10 were slower balls, off which RCB scored at 10.2 per over. His only two dot balls were bowled at less than 100kph. His quicker balls, on the other hand, went at 21.2 an over. The other two Sunrisers Hyderabad pacers bowled two slower ones every three balls. Thampi should have done the same.
Southee battles the dew
Slower balls should have been part of Royal Challengers' bowling plans too, but with dew making the ball wet, it was difficult for their pacers to roll their fingers down the ball. Tim Southee knew he would be battling this when he came in to bowl the 17th over, with Sunrisers needing 55 off 24 balls. Instead of changing his pace, he focused on bowling full and wide, and got it perfectly right. He landed nine yorkers in his last two overs. The rest of his deliveries were full and still difficult to get under. He also repeatedly got the ball wide of off stump, making the batsmen reach for it. It resulted in him conceding just 21 runs off his final two, which decided the game in Royal Challengers' favour.
Why didn't SRH get Williamson on strike?
Going into the 15th over of the chase, Kane Williamson was batting on 69 off 33 balls while Manish Pandey had made just 6 off 12, a start too slow when your side is chasing 219. The idea should have been to get Williamson on strike as much as possible. But, somehow, Sunrisers contrived to give Williamson just eight balls to face in the next five overs while Pandey faced 22.
This happened for a couple of reasons. One was that Williamson struggled to get the boundaries away and ended up taking six singles and a leg-bye off those eight balls. Pandey, to his credit, did manage to hit boundaries and scored 53 runs off the 22 he faced.
But there were a couple of instances when he should have rotated the strike but did not. Against Southee in the 17th over, Pandey looked to hit a big shot off the second ball and ended up with a dot. A single would have given Williamson the rest of the over to face. In the 18th, Pandey made a great start, hitting Mohammad Siraj for ten off the first two balls, but then got carried away and tried a back-of-the-bat scoop and missed. Another dot when a single could have got the man in form on strike.
Pandey also left a ball that was just inside the tramlines, thinking it was a wide, in the 19th over, and missed another attempt at an audacious scoop in the 20th, taking the sheen off what was otherwise his best performance of the tournament so far.
Bangalore nearly pay for sloppiness
Dew made fielding difficult for Royal Challengers, typified by a moment in the 15th over when Virat Kohli made a diving stop on the boundary only for the ball to slip out of his hand when he tried to pick it up, hit his boot, and go for four. There were a few giggles after that, but there were other poor moments in the field that the captain did not find in the least bit funny.
Kohli himself dropped two catches, one a tough chance in the fifth over and one in the last over, when the game was already won. Sarfraz Khan, who has become a bit of a pantomime villain among Royal Challengers fans, got some rare praise on social media after his 22 off 8 balls in the first innings, but the trolls were back when he made a complete hash of a simple stop at square leg in the 9th over and conceded four. Then in the death, Umesh allowed two when there should have been a dot in the 17th, and Colin de Grandhomme kicked the ball over the ropes while trying to make a sliding stop at long-on in the 19th. Even the substitute fielder, Pawan Negi, misfielded in the 19th, though he was lucky it didn't result in extra runs.
A day of boundary catches
In the first innings, Shikhar Dhawan got unlucky when he took a great catch over his head at long-on but couldn't stop before stepping over the rope. He must have thought about that catch and analysed carefully what made him lose balance, for in the 15th over, he again had to reach up above his head at the boundary to grab a chance and this time did brilliantly to stay inside the boundary. That catch dismissed the dangerous AB de Villiers. Rashid Khan too missed a chance on the boundary but made up for it with a one-handed stunner that he had initially misjudged. Then, in the second innings, AB de Villiers leapt up at deep midwicket, realised the ball was curving away from him, and stuck out a hand to grab a magnificent catch to dismiss Alex Hales.
How does this win for RCB affect the table
Royal Challengers may have been hoping for a bigger win when they got to 218, but since Sunrisers got close, their net run-rate is still 0.120 points behind Mumbai Indians. They are well ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders on NRR, though, so if they beat Rajasthan Royals and one of KKR and Mumbai lose, Royal Challengers will go through to the playoffs. If KKR and Mumbai both win, then Royal Challengers will have to beat Royals by a significantly bigger margin than Mumbai beat Delhi Daredevils. For example, if Mumbai beat Daredevils by four runs (after scoring 180), RCB will need to win by 35 runs.