On this day - RCB beat RR in IPL 2015 Eliminator
The league stages of the 2015 season of the IPL were done and dusted, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore had finished third in the points table. With no more room for mistakes, RCB were up against the Rajasthan Royals in the eliminator at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Mumbai Indians had already booked their place in the finals, and the winner of the eliminator would go on to face Chennai Superkings for a spot in the finals.
The luck with the coin went RCB’s way and RCB skipper Virat Kohli decided to bat first. On a slow surface, Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli found it hard to score boundaries consistently in the powerplay. While two of the overs went for 24 runs, the other four yielded only 17 runs. The dismissal of Chris Gayle off the last ball of the powerplay was a body blow to the RCB innings with only 41 runs on the board. Dhawal Kulkarni followed up the wicket of Gayle with that of Virat Kohli, putting an end to a rare struggle for the captain, one in which he scored only 12 runs off 18 balls.
With the score at 46/2, and the innings going nowhere with a run rate of 6 an over, Mandeep Singh and AB de Villiers had the unenviable task of pulling the team out of trouble and setting a defendable target. The duo took its time to settle initially, as the first 2 overs of the partnership saw only four singles. But then came the counter-attack. Mandeep Singh kicked off the assault with a boundary followed by a six off Dhawal Kulkarni. All of the next five overs each consisted of a boundary bar one. The five overs produced 53 runs, the last of them being the most productive with 19 runs coming off it, an over in which De Villiers put the left-arm spin of Ankit Sharma to the sword including 2 sixers.
AB de Villiers - Mandeep Singh partnership of 113 runs turned the fortunes of the game as RCB tripled their score from the first ten overs
The five overs turned the direction of the game on its head, as RCB now had a platform to launch from in the last five overs. On the day, there was no stopping Mandeep Singh and de Villiers, as the timing which had deserted the RCB batsmen in the first half of the innings had magically reappeared. De Villiers was now back to his imperial best, finding the boundary ropes at will. De Villiers was eventually run out for 66 off only 38 balls, a knock which put RCB well on top in the game. The innings was a tale of two halves, as RCB tripled their score from the first ten overs of the innings. Mandeep Singh contributed an invaluable 54 off just 34 balls, as RCB reached 180/4 in their quota of 20 overs.
Chasing a target is never straightforward in a knockout game, and the Royals needed their big guns, Rahane, Watson, and Steve Smith, to fire at the top. S Aravind gave RCB the breakthrough in his very first over, getting Shane Watson to edge a delivery which was angling away. Sanju Samson was bounced out by Harshal Patel, and the Rajasthan Royals mirrored RCB’s powerplay efforts, struggling to get their innings going on a tough Pune pitch. Steve Smith succumbed to the pressure of the soaring asking rate, which had now reached beyond 10 an over with 8 overs bowled.
Rahane and Karun Nair provided some resistance, but with 8 overs left to score 102 runs, wickets started falling in a heap as the Royals failed to find the boundary with any consistent ease. The chase was all but over as 4 wickets fell between the 13th and the 15th overs. The Royals were dismissed for 109, as RCB passed their first hurdle in the playoffs with a commanding 71 run win.