Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) choked Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by six runs in match number six of IPL 2021 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. In a repeat of what KKR did yesterday, SRH lost the match from a comfortable position as batsmen failed to find the boundaries against the slow ball. With RCB having pulled off their second close win in as many games, we analyze three reasons why SRH went down in the game:

1. Losing three in an over to Shahbaz Ahmed

This was undoubtedly the turning point of the match. Chasing exactly 150, SRH went into the last four overs needing 35 runs with eight wickets in hand. However, that one over by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed completely turned the match on its head. Off the first ball of the over, Jonny Bairstow went for a slog sweep and hit the ball straight up in the air. With the gloves on, AB de Villiers called for it and took a brilliant catch.

Next ball, Manish Pandey, who was well set on 38, jumped out of his crease and mistimed one to give a simple catch to the short third man. Things were to get worse for SRH. On the last ball of the over, Abdul Samad went for another adventurous stroke but only managed to give a skied return catch to the delighted bowler. Ahmed finished with magnificent figures of 3 for 7 in his two overs. More importantly, he had turned the game in RCB’s favour.

Vijay Shankar, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem all fell in the next few balls. SRH crumbled from 115 for 2 at one stage to end on 143 for 9. For those who watched yesterday’s match, it was a sense of deja vu. SRH fell like nine pins, just like KKR.

2. Dismissal of David Warner

Apart from Ahmed’s three-in-one over, the dismissal of David Warner, or rather the timing of it, was massive. In a chase of 150, SRH were cruising at 96 for 1 in the 14th over. Warner had just crossed his fifty and was looking in sublime form. Although SRH lost Wriddhiman Saha early in the chase, Warner and Pandey were in cruise control mode for the most part of the innings. Neither of them looked in any trouble at all.

Warner hit 54 from 37 with the aid of seven fours and one big six. As long as he was at the crease, everything seemed in control. But just like Nitish Rana in yesterday’s match, Warner too threw his wicket away with a rash stroke. He tried to take on an off-cutter from Kyle Jamieson but could not control his stroke and was caught in the deep. As Warner walked back, he knew he had exposed a brittle middle-order that was missing the experience of Kane Williamson.

3. Allowing Maxwell and Jamieson to get away at the death

Looking at RCB’s innings, they were 110 for 6 after 17 overs. Maxwell was batting on 35 from 30 balls. He however managed to shift gears rather brilliantly in the last three overs with some help from Jamieson. The 18th over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar went for 14. Jamieson managed to find the boundary twice and Maxwell once.

The penultimate over by T Natarajan also saw Maxwell scoring two boundaries. Although he was dismissed off the last ball of the innings, it was not before he had smacked Holder for a massive six. On a slow surface where batting was getting difficult, every run mattered. From 110 for 6 to 149, it was a more than decent leap for RCB. And considering how difficult run-scoring was towards the end, those were defining runs.

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