Royal Challengers Bangalore were pushed further into gloom with a seven-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals. Defending a target of 159, RCB were guilty of dropping a number of catches in the death overs which could have turned the game in their favour. Royals, for their part, finally managed to win a match that they dominated for the most part after being beaten despite being in strong positions in previous games this season.
Toss: Rajasthan Royals won the toss and chose to field first. Kohli said that he would have chosen to bat first anyway so both captains were happy.
First innings: Shreyas Gopal bowled a sensational spell to dismiss key top-order batsmen before Parthiv Patel and Marcus Stoinis propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to 158 for four. Gopal claimed three wickets, including that of Virat Kohli (23) and AB de Villiers (13), conceding just 12 runs in his four-quota over.
Shreyas Gopal v RCB
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) 2 April 2019
It was opener Parthiv who resisted the Royals attack with aplomb, hitting a belligerent 67 off 41 balls with nine boundaries and six to help his side put a decent total on board. Stoinis (31 not out) too played a key part in shoring up team’s total, add 32 quick runs in partnership with Moeen Ali (18).
Playing with a cautious approach, Kohli was happy working the ball around. Parthiv was aggressor of the two. Parthiv hit three boundaries in Jofra Archer’s first over as RCB finished the Powerplay overs with 48 runs on the board. Immediately after that, Gopal was introduced into the attack and he began to trouble the Indian captain with his googlies. Gopal deceived Kohli with one, which went through the gates.
The leg-spinner returned and this time got rid of de Villiers with another wrong one which stopped a bit as the South African hit it straight back to Gopal, who bowled a rare wicket-maiden.
Left-handed Shimron Hetmyer became his third victim when he edged one away-going delivery and Jos Buttler took a sharp catch behind the wicket. Parthiv was still there but boundaries had dried up. The diminutive left-hander finally lofted one from Ben Stokes for a six over mid-wicket and followed it up with a crushing drive on the off side.
He completed his fifty with a single off Archer, who was smacked for a six by Stoinis soon after. The West Indian dismissed Patel later.
Second innings: Jos Buttler could not match up to his high standards in the previous two matches but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday in Jaipur. He and Rahane got Rajasthan off to a flier in the chase and arguably ended the competition within the first six overs. Rahane was dismissed in the eighth over by which time RR had reached 60.
Steve Smith came next and ensured that Rahane’s wicket was only a blip and kept the innings going at the same pace. Buttler scored his fifty in this time and had made 59 by the time he fell to Yuzvendra Chahal.
Even that wicket was not enough for the Royals to take their foot off the pedal. Rahul Tripathi replaced Buttler and shared a 50-run stand with Smith that ended the competition. The pair was helped in the death overs by the number of sitters that the RCB fielders dropped. Smith was dismissed in the 19th over, after being dropped twice off consecutive balls before that by which time it was too little too late. Tripathi finished the game with a six off the penultimate ball.
Gamechanger: Rajasthan Royals were the better team for most of this match but Shreyas Gopal’s spell can be pointed out as the time when the game changed. Kohli and Parthiv were looking solid until then but Gopal blew away Kohli, Ab de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer. It was always an uphill battle for RCB after that.
Virat Kohli: Today, we were more competitive, but we were 15-20 short with the bat. I thought 160 was competitive, but with the dew factor, 15 runs more would’ve been more challenging. Wasn’t easy to get the boundaries in the 2nd innings, but if we make that many mistakes (dropped catches), then we will fall on the losing side. In a tournament like IPL, when you have no momentum, then these things can happen. The team hasn’t gone off to a good start, and these things look really bad. But we have to keep believing that we can turn things around. Thought we played well in Mumbai and tonight, but we need to improve. We need to take some confidence from tonight’s game though. The tournament isn’t so long, so you need to think on your feet on what the best XIs are. We will sit down and talk to see how we can balance our team and allow our players to create some match-winning performances.
Ajinkya Rahane: Thinking was dew factor, so we thought 150-160 would be a good total. Shreyas Gopal’s record against Virat and de Villiers we all know, but overall great team effort. After 3-4 overs, we thought wicket is slow, so I thought if spinners bowl well then batsmen will have a hard time. Gowtham was excellent in the Powerplay, and Gopal backed up after that. Relief, yes, to get points on the board. We played good cricket last three games, but tonight it was all about giving more than 100%. Tripathi was struggling before the match – he had twisted his ankle last game – but he was incredible with Stokesy and Smith. Overall, great team effort.