Ben Cutting was decisive for Sunrisers Hyderabad: Daniel Vettori

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Old 30-May-2016
Ben Cutting was decisive for Sunrisers Hyderabad: Daniel Vettori

It wasn't until Sunrisers Hyderabad's 12th group-stage game, against Kings XI Punjab, that Ben Cutting, the strapping fast-bowling all-rounder from Australia, got a taste of Indian Premier League this year. Just a fortnight since that game, Cutting made massive contributions with both bat and ball in his team's title triumph.

When Cutting arrived to bat in the 16th over, Sunrisers were on the verge of squandering yet another excellent platform laid by skipper David Warner, this time with a 38-ball 69. Yuvraj Singh, who displayed elegance in his stroke play, albeit only briefly, walked back right after Cutting walked in, leaving the Australian with Naman Ojha and the tail to bat with. There was a familiar struggle that Sunrisers grappled with, before Cutting blew the opposition out of the water. A 15-ball manic knock of 39, including a 24-run final over off Watson that saw one ball go out of the ground, took Sunrisers past the 200-run mark.

"Ben Cutting with his batting was probably decisive. If you look at the overall scheme of things, he took some crucial wickets too that put us on the back foot," Daniel Vettori, the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, said in the post-match press conference on Sunday(May 29).

Even with a daunting total to scale, Royal Challengers Bangalore looked firm favourites to get their hands on the trophy when Chris Gayle went hammer and tongs in the early overs. Full deliveries, irrespective of pace and length, were being dug out and sent over the ropes while the length and short deliveries were tonked to the second row. Bowling his first over in the powerplay, Cutting got a taste of his own medicine as Gayle and Kohli picked up 13 runs from it. From 59 for no wicket in 6 overs, Royal Challengers made an unparalleled dash to reach 112 at the half-way stage, 75 off which came off Gayle's willow.

But, as has been the case in the past, T20 has been a game of two halves. In his third over, the 11th of the innings, Cutting dished out a cutter that Gayle failed to spot and took an across-the-line swipe and hit it to Bipul Sharma at third man. It was the moment that Sunrisers desperately needed to find a way back into the tie.

When he returned for his final over, the equation had been narrowed. Royal Challengers, despite losing a couple of key wickets, were still in it. Shane Watson and KL Rahul were tasked with scoring 51 off the last 30 balls when another surface-gripping back-of-the-length cutter drove what was perhaps the final nail in the coffin. Rahul played to the demands of the occasion and attempted a wild swing, only for the ball to miss his bat and clip the top of off-stump.

Gayle's dismissal, brought about by Cutting, had helped Sunrisers find a way to carve open the best batting line-ups of the tournament, thereby leaving the Royal Challengers vulnerable in chase towards the dying moments. Vettori rued the team's inability to consolidate on the start provided by the West Indian.

"I think in an IPL game, there are some critical moments and in any IPL team there are some very good players. The start we got off today allowed us the confidence to do that [go for the chase]. I think just when we required a couple of guys to kick on, we weren't able to give that momentum that Chris and others had established for us. So I think Sunrisers grabbed their opportunities and got wickets at crucial times, " Vettori opined, conceding that it was a night when his opposition emerged a better unit.

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