RR’s late order blitz prevails over all round Yuvraj show
Rajasthan Royals were taken home by 5 wickets thanks to exceptional late hitting from Steve Smith & James Faulkner who combined to overcome Yuvraj’s all-round heroics for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Having won the toss, Virat Kohli decided to bat first in a deviation from his previous decisions this season. Changing his strategies from the onset, Kohli decided to come out to open the innings along with Chris Gayle. The ploy did not work that well after Kohli hit one straight to third man and was dismissed on 4(9). Vijay Zol, the 19-year old debutant was the next at the crease and played a promising innings, going after the RR attack. After 6 overs, RCB were placed at 31/1.
Chris Gayle’s ragged form this IPL continued as he was dismissed after an uncomfortable 19(25), making way for the in form AB de Villiers to come in. Zol was dismissed soon after for 16(14) after hitting a few boundaries. The rebuilding of the innings was now up to AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj took the onus onto himself, playing aggressively from the start of his innings. de Villiers obliged by providing the support from the other end; playing the anchor role to perfection. By the end of 15 overs, RCB were poised at 106/3.
From here, both the batsmen shifted gears to start an onslaught upon the RR bowlers. All the Aussie bowlers in Richardson, Watson and Faulkner had a tough time in containing the outrage by the Men In Red at the crease. Yuvraj finally got out in the 19th over but he had already done all the damage. He scored a blistering 83(38) before he headed back to the dugout, his best batting performance across all seasons of the IPL. AB de Villiers continued the carnage in the last over of the match, hitting 2 sixes off Faulkner. He was dismissed for 58(32). In the end, RCB finished at a massive 190/5.
RR started off the chase in great fashion with Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair playing some stylish shots. Their intent was clear in the way they played: get quick runs without losing wickets and taking minimum risks. By the end of 6 overs, RR were at 45/0.
Chahal was the first man to take a wicket as he dismissed Rahane off the first ball of his spell. Yuvraj Singh took 2 big wickets off his 2nd over, getting Shane Watson and Stuart Binny and struck again in his 3rd over by catching the explosive youngster, Sanju Samson off his own bowling. Yuvraj’s fairytale performance continued as he rattled the stumps of Karun Nair to pick his 4th wicket of the match and hence getting his best bowling performance in IPL. At the end of 15 overs, RR were in trouble at 122/5 and needing 69 to win in the last 5 overs.
Things started to turn lopsided for RCB at the end of the innings, with the Aussie duo of Steve Smith and James Faulkner smashing the ball for all their money’s worth. The normally hard to put away Mitchell Starc was attacked by the duo, throwing him off his line and taking the 17th over for 21 runs. The 18th over by Ashoke Dinda then proved to be the nail in the coffin for RCB as he went for 23 runs. From here, RR needed to score 21 runs from the last 2 overs and it was their match to lose. With some brilliant hitting, RR scored the remainder of the runs in the next 5 balls off Aaron and came back to win the match with 7 balls to spare.
Despite their best performance as a team this season, RCB lost a game that seemed close. The team now must win all its remaining matches and hope that some other results go its way for a chance of making it to the playoffs.