Rajasthan Royals delivered a knockout punch to Royal Challengers Bangalore as they knocked RCB out of the race for the playoffs by beating them by 30 runs in the 53rd match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
Rajasthan had no hesitation in batting first after they won the toss. But their experiment to send Jofra Archer to open the innings failed miserably as he was dismissed for a duck. Thereafter, Rahul Tripathi (80) and Ajinkya Rahane (33) batted sensibly on a slow pitch to stitch together a 99-run partnership to give a good platform to their side. But Umesh Yadav (3/25) dismissed Rahane and Sanju Samson (0) off consecutive balls and brought RCB back in the game. However, some good hitting by Heinrich Klaasen (32 off 21) and Krishnappa Gowtham (14 off 5) towards the end did help Rajasthan reach a competitive total of 164/5 in 20 overs.
Find the full match scorecard here.
RCB suffered a horror start as Virat Kohli (4) was clean bowled by Gowtham (1/6) in the third over. Out came AB de Villiers (53), who looked like batting on some other pitch as he creamed the bowlers for boundaries and put together a 55-run partnership with Parthiv Patel (33). At 75/1 after 8.2 overs, things looked in absolute control for RCB but Shreyas Gopal had other ideas… Parthiv and Moeen Ali (1) sent back to the dugout in his second over. Gopal then got the better of Mandeep Singh (1) in his third over and when he got de Villiers stumped in his last over, he had absolutely sealed the match in Rajasthan’s favour. The pitch was offering ample turn and RR spinners were relishing it with attacking fields. With ABD back in the hut, it was a mere formality for RR to pack the remaining batsmen as RCB folded from 75/1 at one stage to 134 all out. Ben Laughlin and Jaydev Unadkat picked up two wickets each.
Catch all the highlights from the game here.
Back to back 8 overs of classic leg spin from Gopal and Ish Sodhi which yielded 5 wickets and 47 runs are the turning point of the match as it pulled the game in RR’s favour. RCB were cruising till the moment Gopal and Sodhi started bowling in tandem. With turn on offer, both spinners spun a web around RCB batsmen as they seemed clueless against them. And by the time their spells got over, RCB were tottering at 102/6 after 14 overs.
ABD looked in great touch as always and he was going strong till the time Gopal got him stumped with a googly. His wicket is the best dismissal of the match. It was a googly which de Villiers completely misread. He got sucked into it and went for the drive but it was at such a length that he missed it and Klaasen did the rest behind the stumps.
Batsman of the Match
Rahul Tripathi for his superb knock of 80 off 58 is the batsman of the match. His innings was studded with 3 sixes and 5 fours. It wasn’t a racing knock that you generally see in a T20 match but it was more of a calculative yet aggressive innings. He batted within his limits and adjusted well to a difficult pitch. He tried playing as straight as possible while hitting some gorgeous shots.
Bowler of the Match
Gopal for his brilliant spell of 4/16 is the bowler of the match. He made full use of a turning track and bowled with a lot of flight and guile while showing all his variations. In a format where tossing the ball up to the batsmen can be dangerous, he brought about their downfall with his flight. Three of his four wickets were stumped is a proof of that.
Ajinkya Rahane (RR Captain): We knew that when we won the toss and decided to bat that 160 on this wicket would be very difficult to chase down even with RCB having a strong batting line-up. After 6 or 7 overs we decided that if we get 2 or 3 wickets in the middle overs we would be in a good position. Credit has to go our bowlers for taking wickets under pressure, it is not easy.
Virat Kohli (RCB Captain): We were in a great stage at one stage at 75-1 and the way we were bundled out was not ideal. We have a guy like AB who was hitting fours and sixes around and we needed smarter decision making around him. The guys were just not up to the mark and the mistakes were something that should not be repeated by 5 or 6 guys in a row. We wanted to strenghten the middle order as it hasn't been our strength in the last few years and it will be something we will try to do next season too. We need to be smarter as to how we compose our team.
It was the last league game of this season for both the teams. This loss means that RCB have failed to make it to the playoffs and their IPL 2018 campaign ends in this match itself. But RR still have hopes of going through to the playoffs but their fate depends on how other teams perform in their last league games over the weekend.
With their seventh win of the season, RR have climbed up to the fourth spot with 14 points whereas RCB are at the sixth position with 12 points.
Check out the updated points table here.