Pint-sized dynamite explodes
In the 19th over the match, Chris Woakes bowled a pinpoint yorker on the off stump to Sanju Samson. The little man calmly late cut it past wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to the third man boundary. It was audacity personified. More significantly, it was Samson’s first four of the innings. By then, though, he was batting on 71 off 40 balls, hitting eight sixes. Samson finished on 92 not out off 45 deliveries, with 10 sixes and two fours.
Chinnaswamy is a small ground. But the art of hitting sixes off the good deliveries is not venue-specific. The hallmark of Samson’s batting against Royal Challengers Bangalore was his ability to pick the length early. After two very good games, Umesh Yadav had a bad day at the office. The RCB fast bowler conceded 59 runs in his four overs without taking a wicket. Then again, towards the back end of the Rajasthan Royals innings, Umesh found himself at the receiving end of a special knock, .
Umesh’s final over went for 27 runs. After Rahul Tripathi took a six and a four, it was Samson’s turn to put the finishing touches. Umesh bowled quick but a little short. Samson went on the back foot and hammered it over long-off for a six. A six over deep cover next ball was even better. Two fairly good deliveries had been brilliantly put away. Not for nothing the Royals forked out Rs 8 crore for Samson at the auction. He beautifully paced his innings, taking a little time initially and waiting for the bad balls to get into the hitting groove. Then, the pint-sized dynamite exploded.
Rahane starts the fire
Washington Sundar is steadily growing into a terrific Powerplay bowler. He started the proceedings for RCB today and gave away only a single in his first over. Woakes, too, kept things tight at the other end. The ball wasn’t coming on to the bat and D’Arcy Short, who likes pace on the ball, had been struggling to force the pace. Exhilaratingly, Ajinkya Rahane took the attack to the opponents.
Rahane’s batting in white-ball cricket is said to be conditions-specific. This is a reason why he is not a regular starter for India in the ODIs. And MSK Prasad and company have now axed him from the T20I squad. But Rahane can play the role of an aggressor, when he is not looking over his shoulder.
Kohli paints a picture
To score 218 and win this game, RCB had to pull off the highest successful chase in the IPL history. The hosts lost Brendon McCullum in the first over to a spectacular catch from Stokes at the deep mid-wicket. Virat Kohli came and started to paint a picture. Dhawal Kulkarni had been accounted for three fours in an over. K Gowtham was cover driven to the fence against the turn. Stokes attempted a bouncer and was pulled disdainfully to the mid-wicket boundary. De Kock departed after a little cameo but the RCB captain raced to a 26-ball half-century. The run rate was hovering around 10 per over; Kohli had been keeping his team in the hunt with the lightness of touch. But chasing an improbable target, he mistimed a pull once, allowing Shreyas Gopal pick the prized scalp.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 217/4 in 20 overs (Samson 92 not out, Rahane 36) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 198/6 in 2o overs (Kohli 57, Mandeep 47, Washington 35) by 19 runs.