Royal Challengers Bangalore bagged yet another win while defending at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, coming up trumps against table-toppers Rajasthan Royals. Glenn Maxwell and Faf du Plessis starred with the bat while Harshal Patel returned a three-fer.
It all started at the toss when Virat Kohli, leading RCB for the second successive time as Faf du Plessis had still not gotten fit for match intensity. RCB came out in their green jersey as part of the “Go Green” initiative. Sanju Samson chose to chase after winning the toss, even as Kohli himself wanted to bat first. But the Chinnaswamy crowd were stunned when a steaming Trent Boult inswinger caught Kohli right in front of the stumps on the very first ball. The RCB stand-in skipper didn’t bother to review. Shahbaz Ahmed was promoted up the order but he too failed to make any significant impact, failing to pull a short ball by Boult and looping a catch to Yashasvi Jaiswal at mid-wicket.
Glenn Maxwell joined Faf du Plessis in the middle and he took on the Rajasthan bowling straight away as he hit two fours off Boult. Faf du Plessis took a liking to Sandeep Sharma, hitting him for two fours in his first over, and a four and two maximums in his second. Maxwell again collected two boundaries against Boult. Ashwin was brought on to close out the powerplay but Maxwell gave no respite to the Royals, hitting the veteran off-spinner for a four and a six to complete RCB’s flying start to 62/2 after six overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal entered right after the powerplay to counter the Maxwell threat, but the Australian batter dictated terms right away by bringing out the reverse-sweep to get a six. The duo rode on their momentum as Maxwell spared none as RCB scored 73 runs in the seven overs after powerplay. However, a brilliant direct hit from Jaiswal at extra-cover ended Du Plessis’s stay at 62 from 39 balls. Glenn Maxwell too fell in the next over when he reverse-hit a carrom ball from Ashwin straight to Holder at backward point. As soon as Maxwell got out for his 77, a knock laced with 6 fours and 4 sixes, RCB slid further as they could only muster 33 runs off the last five overs while losing 5 wickets to end up at 189/9.
RR too were jolted early in the first over itself when Mohammed Siraj knocked over Jos Buttler’s leg stump for a duck with an excellent nip-backer. Devdutt Padikkal came to bat at number three with Jaiswal and the pair took the attack to the RCB bowlers. Jaiswal took a four off David Willey, then smacked two boundaries off Siraj’s bowling. He again cut Willey wide of deep point. Padikkal too joined in the act as he hit three fours of Vijaykumar Vyshak. Kohli tried Maxwell in the 6th over but Padikkal flicked him for a four, and Jaiswal then lofted him over long-on for a six as RR got to 47/1 in the powerplay.
The southpaws broke the shackles completely post that as they smashed 10, 14, 10,11 runs off the next four overs after the powerplay, taking the scoreboard to 92/1 at the halfway mark. Hasaranga bowled a quiet 11th over, which resulted in a wicket in the next over as Padikkal mistimed a slog down to Kohli at long-on. Hasaranga sustained the pressure as Harshal too prized the well-set Jaiswal with a slower full-toss, again into Kohli’s hands. Samson tried to change the momentum again with a four and six off Hasaranga, but Harshal returned to halt the RR skipper who toe-ended a slash to Shahbaz Ahmed at short third man.
Needing 61 off the last four overs, Dhruv Jurel began finding the rope as he scored 16 runs off Siraj’s third over. He began with a six off Willey but lost Hetmyer to a run-out as Suyash Prabhudesai hit the bull’s eye with only one stump to aim at from extra cover. With 33 remaining off the last two overs, Jurel powered a yorker for six between deep backward square leg and fine leg as RR collected 13 runs off Siraj’s final over.
Defending 20 off the last six balls, Harshal Patel was unlucky as Ashwin got two fours off edges, and a couple in between to bring the equation down to 10 off 3 balls. Ashwin mistimed his slog to deep mid-wicket to get caught. Abdul Basith came in as an impact substitute but Harshal kept his cool to deliver a win for his team by 7 runs.