Synopsis: Rajasthan fritter away a good start, before crawling to paltry 130 after being undone by RCB’s fast and furious. In reply, Kohli’s side canter home thanks to a batting symphony. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)
Shane Watson was the star of the show after Royals were put to bat on a flat Motera pitch by Virat Kohli. The Rajasthan captain started off with a glorious cover drive off Mitchell Starc in the first over and then upped the ante with two more boundaries in Starc’s second over.
Ajinkya Rahane, who survived a leg before shout in the first ball, took left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla to the cleaners. A six over long-on followed by a slog-swept four to deep square leg, and the man with the ‘Orange Cap’ got going. Harshal Patel came, and Rahane drove him past mid-off for another boundary. But he was out next ball, deceived by a slower delivery from medium pacer Patel and being trapped plumb in front.
Undaunted, Watson smacked Yuzvendra Chahal for a six over long-on. A drive over mid-on gave him another four. Watson then got out to a half-tracker, trying to pull it over mid-wicket, but mistiming it instead to long-on. Watson’s dismissal was the turning point. Bangalore were given an inch. They took a mile.
Rajasthan were 48/ 2 in six overs. They added only 25 runs more in the next four, losing Karun Nair in the process. They went into a shell, giving even Kohli’s gentle medium pace a little too much respect. Steve Smith was playing the role of an anchor, but he was let down by the likes of Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson.
The former attempted a heave off Abdulla, but missed it. Samson gifted his wicket to Chahal as he missed the line of a straight ball and lost his middle stump. Stuart Binny tried to stitch a partnership with Smith after being dropped on 7 by Abdulla. The duo added 30 runs for the sixth wicket, but Starc was waiting for them.
FAST & FURIOUS
STARC was deadly in his second spell. He beat Smith for pace and four balls later, Binny was holed out at deep extra cover by David Wiese, trying to hit inside out and getting undone by extra swing.
Poor Dhawal Kulkarni got almost an unplayable one and the off stump went for a walk. Starc finished with 3/22 and walked away with the Man of the Match award.
Chris Gayle returned for Rilee Rossouw and announced his presence with a lofted four over mid-off off Dhawal Kulkarni. The big man then turned his attention to Chris Morris in the next over with couple of boundaries and a six. Watson came into the attack and dismissed Gayle with a slower bouncer. Gayle’s dismissal was all Rajasthan could muster tonight.
What followed was Royal Challenger’s batting symphony, which they had no answer to.
For long, AB had been playing too far down the order. Tonight he batted at No. 3 and revelled in his promotion. In AB, Kohli found an able ally. The duo matched each other stroke-for-stroke.
If AB had unleashed a square drive off Faulkner and a sublime back foot punch, Kohli’s response was a majestic pull off Pravin Tambe. And when AB made short work of the Rajasthan leggie with two delightful boundaries, Kohli returned the compliment with a straight six off Watson. Kohli got to a fifty, AB very nearly did.
The Protea had fallen prey to a horrendous mix-up in the previous game. Tonight, was no different as they were involved in another mix-up. Thankfully, there were no damages done.
Later, AB saw the funny side of it and broke into a smile. Bangalore were eventually home with 23 balls to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 98-run second wicket partnership.