Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Resolute Williamson helps SRH show steel. Williamson laid down the marker for a collective performance.
Williamson laid down the marker for a collective performance.
SRH entered their game against RCB with just two wins out of 12 matches. Such was the sorry state of the franchise that even the back-door entry to reach the playoffs had burned out. There was only pride to play for as the franchise looked to end their campaign on a high. The situation demanded the captain to lead from the front and SRH's skipper, Kane Williamson, did his bit to help the side seal a thriller.
After being inserted into bat, the stage was set for Williamson to impose himself on the proceedings, especially in the backdrop of the track offering grip for the slow bowlers. However, the SRH captain had a nervy start when Mohammed Siraj found nifty movement off the seam and Williamson could only eke out an inside edge. Luckily for him, the ball lodged inside the flap of the pad. At that moment, it didn't seem as if the calm and composed Williamson would take his side to a position of sure-footed security.
It took two more deliveries for Williamson to get his eye in as he cracked the cover drive followed by the authoritative pull. He then took advantage of some ordinary bowling from George Garton to give SRH a robust start in tricky conditions. Williamson also found an able ally in Jason Roy. The England opener is known for playing with pomp and grandeur, but in unfamiliar climes, he found it difficult to muscle the ball through the gaps. Roy, though, showed admirable temperament to not throw his wicket away.
The yin-yang partnership of Williamson and Roy provided the platform for the middle order. Unfortunately, Harshal Patel joined hands with Dan Christian to bowl a slew of cutters, sprinkled by the occasional slower one to suck all the life out of SRH's innings. Even though the conditions weren't easy to bat, the confident RCB side would have backed themselves to hunt down the target of 142. And that is when SRH's bowlers rose to the occasion to smartly outmanoeuvre the opposition.
Virat Kohli was done in by Bhuvneshwar's inswinger. Christain fell to Siddarth Kaul's knuckle ball while KS Bharat found Umran Malik's pace too hot to handle. Just that SRH now were up against the in-form Glenn Maxwell. With Maxwell at the crease, Williamson looked up to Rashid Khan to deliver the knockout punch. But for once SRH's spearhead was taken apart on the back of Maxwell's pyrotechnics and quicksilver footwork.
SRH needed a spark of brilliance that could break the game. And that moment arrived when Williamson ran out the dangerous Maxwell with a direct-hit. Williamson had only one stump to aim at but he slid across at covers and effected the direct-hit.
Mike Hesson, in his presser, acknowledged that Maxwell's dismissal was the turning point of the game. “I think the fact that Glenn was scoring at a rate of over 10 an over, probably the only batter who had any fluency on this surface, and he was set. He was the man we wanted at the crease. It was one of those that bounced up nicely for the fielder and an exceptional piece of work, probably turned the game.”
RCB still had one lifeline left in the form of AB de Villiers. Despite not being in good touch during the UAE leg of the IPL, De Villiers' 360-degree stroke-play was just the kind of tonic that RCB needed for a late dash. On the other hand, with 18 required off two overs, Williamson turned towards his experienced hands – Jason Holder and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The pace pair used their wisdom of experience to bowl wide of off, blended with the loopy short ball and provided the finishing touches to a collective performance from the side. In the final over, Bhuvneshwar also forced De Villiers to hit through the bigger part of the ground – off-side – and it paid off.
Williamson accumulated 31 off 29 balls and ran out Maxwell. Not a game-breaking performance by any means, but it laid down the marker for his side to show some character. And his team-mates followed in the footsteps of their skipper.