The two teams that played the Eliminator - the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) - had reached the stage via very contrasting journeys. Having bossed the top half of the IPL 2020 points table almost all season, RCB only qualified by winning a tense NRR battle. SRH too qualified on NRR, but they were once 7th in the league and had to win all games to qualify.
The difference in momentum eventually played a part as RCB crashed to their fifth straight loss of the season, while SRH notched up their fourth successive win. In a game of fine margins, SRH finished off the chase in the final over with just two balls to spare, as Jason Holder found the boundary twice in a row to knock RCB out of IPL 2020. SRH will next face the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 for a spot in the final against the Mumbai Indians.
Both batting line-ups struggled on a pitch that favoured slower bowling and variations. Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal, RCB's newest opening pair, endured failures as Aaron Finch and AB de Villiers shouldered the run-scoring. De Villiers kept going after Finch's dismissal to score a vital half-century even as Holder's 3-for saw the team crumble around him.
In chase, SRH were in early trouble themselves, with the top order back in the shed. It was down to Kane Williamson and Holder to play out the spinners and feast on the quicker bowlers, and the duo did just that as they never needed to take risks. Williamson's unbeaten 50, along with Holder's late boundaries, took the team home.
In a knockout game, RCB hardly turned up, and they were over-reliant on Yuzvendra Chahal and AB de Villiers once again. Here are the top 3 underperformers from the match.
#3 Washington Sundar (RCB)
At one stage a major cog in RCB's revival in the tournament, Washington Sundar's season economy of under 5 finished at 5.96 after he lost his degree of control. He also finished with a haul of just 8 wickets from 15 games, and his lack of wickets in crucial contests like these cost the team. With bat in hand, he has averaged under 19, barely justifying his occasional promotions up the order.
The Eliminator was a horror show for Sundar. Coming in late in the innings, he scored 5 off 6 with no boundaries to support AB de Villiers and even starving the South African of strike. His two overs with the ball were easy pickings as they went for 21 runs, making this one of his worst all-round performances of the season.
#2 Moeen Ali (RCB)
There is only one way to be dismissed off a free hit, as all other modes of dismissal are void. The curious Moeen Ali somehow managed to pinpoint the one way - getting run out - and chose that to be his route to fame in the Eliminator. Departing for a golden duck, he left the crease in embarrassing fashion and had to wait for his chance with the ball.
Picked as an all-rounder in place of Chris Morris, Moeen was asked to bowl just the one over which went for four runs. Despite showing decent control, the off-spinner was not required again, with the RCB skipper going for an over of Shivam Dube instead of more spin at the death. Ultimately, Moeen had little to contribute in RCB's loss.
#1 Virat Kohli (RCB)
Neither Aaron Finch nor Josh Philippe were able to cement their opening spot alongside Devdutt Padikkal. With little faith remaining in the duo, RCB skipper Virat Kohli decided to don that role against SRH. It was hardly an opportunity grabbed with both hands, as he departed for just 7 off 6 balls to leave it all up to the middle order.
In the field, Kohli's use of Sundar saw Warner race away to a good start before a lucky review got the better of the SRH skipper. Bowling out the spinners early seemed like a folly in hindsight, as SRH's international duo found the going simple against the quicker men. Kohli's poor performance and questionable decisions meant RCB's title hunt unfortunately resumes next season.
Published 07 Nov 2020, 10:31 IST