Rajasthan Royals suffered their first defeat of IPL 2022 as Royal Challengers Bangalore completed a stunning turnaround to register their second win.
The Karthik and Shahbaz show
In a game that had turned one way and the other, this stand proved to be pivotal. Dinesh Karthik, coming in after Sherfane Rutherford was caught at short third man, wasted no time to get going. Bearing the brunt of his assault was fellow Tamil Nadu veteran R Ashwin who was carted for 21 in an over, with Karthik accounting for 19. This was followed by back-to-back boundaries off Saini in the next over, and allowed Shahbaz too to get into his own. With a flurry of boundaries against Prasidh, Saini as well as Boult, Shahbaz raced into the forties and got RCB within touching distance of the target. Their stand worth 67 from just 33 balls ensured that RCB eventually won with five balls to spare, ending Rajasthan’s sprightly fight right through the game.
Early assistance once again at Wankhede
After putting Rajasthan into bat, David Willey got one to nip back sharply and had Yashasvi Jaiswal bowled in just the second over of the match. Devdutt Padikkal, coming in at No. 3, also faced similar problems against the pacers despite managing to flick Mohammad Siraj for a six. Largely, RCB managed to keep both Padikkal and Jos Buttler quiet in the powerplay, which yielded only 35 runs. And Buttler was on 10 on 14 when he was given some gifts by RCB.
Twice in an over, he was dropped. The first by the bowler – Akash Deep – himself when a checked drive was fumbled. Next, it was David Willey, at deep square leg, that misjudged a steepler when a pull was top-edged. It enabled Rajasthan to build a partnership of substance for the second wicket. Padikkal too was dropped, albeit a difficult chance for Siraj, and together the duo added 70 runs off 49 balls with a mixture of caution and aggression.
A stumble …Harshal Patel ended Padikkal’s fortunate stay when the left-hander skied a slower one to Virat Kohli at mid-off. This was soon followed by Wanindu Hasaranga delivering once again on a favourable match-up – having Sanju Samson (caught and bowled) for the fourth time in five innings. Buttler meanwhile was left searching for strike, having faced just 27 balls until the end of the 12th over.
And a massive high
But the arrival of Shimron Hetmyer eased a little pressure off Buttler with the left-hander hitting Hasaranga for back-to-back boundaries to get going. The partnership continued at a steady pace, getting 32 off 32 balls first-up. With RR still having plenty of wickets going into the death overs, the duo switched gears. The last 18 balls of the innings yielded 51 runs as a six-hitting spree ensued. Buttler hit two apiece of Siraj and Akash Deep while Hetmyer closed the innings with a swing over the square leg fence. Buttler finished with an unbeaten 70 that contained six sixes and zero fours, pushing Rajasthan to a massive total on a difficult pitch.
How did RCB go about in the chase?
Up, down and up.
Firing from the top
Faf du Plessis and Anuj Rawat first negated any new ball threat on the Wankhede pitch, putting on a steady 55-run stand over seven overs. Both Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult bore the brunt as they conceded five boundaries in the space of eight balls, kickstarting the chase for RCB.
The sudden slide down
Just as the duo were beginning to settle in, and threatening to up the ante, the game turned on its head. Ex-RCB legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal first had the well-set Faf du Plessis miscuing a loft down to long-on, and in the next over Navdeep Saini got Rawat nicking a cutter. Chahal’s next over produced back-to-back wickets. First Virat Kohli was sent back while looking for a quick single and was caught marginally short by a smart, sharp throw to Chahal by Samson. David Willey was then flummoxed by a big turner from Chahal and was bowled through the gate. RCB had lost four wickets in the space of 18 balls and were staring down the barrel, before the Karthik-Shahbaz show took them to victory from the jaws of defeat.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 169/3 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 70*, Shimron Hetmyer 42*) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 173/6 in 19.1 overs (Shahbaz Ahmed 45, Dinesh Karthik 44*; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-15) by four wickets.