In yet another batting failure, Royal Challengers Bangalore failed to chase a middling target of 145 against Rajasthan Royals at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Kuldeep Sen took 4/20 while Ravichandran Ashwin registered figures of 3/17 to bowl out RCB for 115 in 19.3 overs as RR climbed to the top of the IPL 2022 points table with a 29-run win.
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Not one RCB batter posted a score of any significance after Virat Kohli walked in to open the innings with his captain Faf du Plessis. Kohli (9) peeled off two boundaries before falling to Prasidh Krishna, continuing his poor run in the ongoing season. Du Plessis got the start but was ensnared by Kuldeep right after the end of Powerplay on 23 – the highest of RCB innings.
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Kuldeep then landed a body blow when he got rid of Glenn Maxwell for a first-ball duck off his very next delivery. And soon RCB were struggling at 66/5 in 11.4 overs. Still they had hope in Dinesh Karthik who has time and again bailed them out this season.
However, Karthik was run out on 6 which all but sealed their fate.
Earlier, RCB dished out an incisive bowling show to restrict in-form Rajasthan Royals to a modest 144/ 8. Josh Hazlewood (2/19), Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (2/23) and Mohammed Siraj (2/30) picked up two wickets each to stifle the Royals’ batting line-up.
Riyan Parag was the lone bright spot for RR with an unbeaten 56 off 31 balls. RCB’s decision to bowl first yielded great results as they picked up wickets at regular intervals, not allowing RR any scope of building a big partnership.
Devdutt Padikkal (7) and Jos Buttler (8) failed to give RR a good start and the decision to promote Ravichandran Ashwin (17) also backfired. Siraj accounted for both Padikkal and Ashwin in his successive overs, while Hazlewood picked up the all-important wicket of Buttler, caught by Siraj inches above the ground as the batter failed to get over a short delivery, looping his pull to mid-on.
Sanju Samson (27 off 21 balls) and Daryl Mitchell (16) tried to forge a partnership, sharing 35 runs for the fourth wicket before de Silva went through the gates of RR skipper as the batter went for an extravagant reverse sweep. Mitchell failed to get going and tried to play the role of an anchor, holding one end up and together with Riyan Parag added 31 runs.
But the New Zealander’s struggle was cut short by Hazlewood as in a desperate effort to break the shackles, he gave a simple catch to Glenn Maxwell at long-on. At 100 for 5 after 15 overs, RR’s effort to post a decent target received yet another jolt in the form of Shimron Hetmyer (3), who fell to de Silva caught in the deep while going for a slog sweep. Trent Boult (5) was the next to depart, courtesy a stunning catch from Virat Kohli at midwicket off Harshal Patel.
RR’s struggle can be gauged from the fact that they failed to find the fence for seven consecutive overs from 12 to 18th. Parag finally broke it in the 19th over by lifting Hazzlewood over the extra cover fence. Parag hit Patel for a four and two sixes in the final over to not only bring up his fifty but also give RR bowlers something to defend.
With PTI Inputs
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