Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL 2019 season went from bad to worse as they sank to a seven-wicket defeat to Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Tuesday.
Bangalore’s top order was dismantled by leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (3-12) whose googlies accounted for captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer.
RCB struggled to 158-4 on a flat wicket and then saw Rajasthan chase down with seven wickets in hand and one ball to go as Jos Buttler scored a fine fifty.
It was a tough day for Kohli who has now failed to hit a fifty in seven IPL innings – his longest such stretch in the tournament since 2014. Also, he capped a miserable day by dropping counterpart Ajinkya Rahane in the second over of the chase.
Here is how the game turned out.
GOPAL GETS IT RIGHT WITH WRONG ‘UN
That is the fourth time Kohli has been dismissed by a googly in his T20 career. Kohli averages 56.20 against leg breaks but just 18.25 against googlies. Excellent aggressive bowling from Gopal. #IPL #RRvRCB @rajasthanroyals @RCBTweets— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) April 2, 2019
Quality leg-spinners are worth their weight in gold in the T20 format. Rajasthan leggie Gopal put in a gold-star performance, bamboozling Bangalore’s top order with pin-point googlies.
In the seventh over of the innings, Gopal nearly went past the defence of Kohli. Next ball was another wrong ‘un outside off stump which Kohli drove at. The ball whizzed past the gap between bat and pad to rattle the woodwork. The skipper went for an uncharacteristically slow 23 off 25 balls.
One batsman down, De Villiers fell in Gopal’s next over after offering a simple return catch while clumsily pushing at another googly. New acquisition Hetmyer feathered another fine googly to the keeper in Gopal’s third over as the 25-year-old broke the back of RCB’s batting, reducing the visitors to 73-3 in the 11th over.
Gopal has now dismissed Kohli both times he has faced him in the IPL and has got the wicket of De Villiers all three times he has bowled to the South African star.
PARTHIV PUSHES ON
Wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel was watching the carnage from the other end. But he didn’t lose his composure, playing out Gopal and going after the faster bowlers.
In the 13th over, the left-hander hit a four and a six off Stokes to kick the game ahead. His 41-ball 67 held the innings together and will give the management some confidence as it was the first major contribution of the season by the opener.
STOINIS EASES IN
Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis landed in Jaipur late on Monday after finishing his Australia duties in the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE. He was drafted straight into the RCB Playing XI and found himself walking in with the team in distress.
The all-rounder showed telltale signs of an in-form player by hitting 31 off 28 balls to give the innings some impetus in the end.
When you are defending a target of 159 on a good pitch, you need to take all your chances. Captain Kohli knows it all too well but he was the one who erred in the second over of the innings, dropping Rahane at first slip after pacer Navdeep Saini drew his edge.
While the ball was flying to Kohli’s right, Bangalore needed their skipper to hold on and get back into the game. It wasn’t to be and Rajasthan drifted away from Bangalore.
BUTTLER ON TOP
The target was always within reach and keeper Buttler went after Bangalore quicks Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini, who were generating a lot of pace. The Englishman raced to 59 off 43 balls to take the sting out of Bangalore’s bowling.
Even though leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal put in another fine display by picking up 2-17 from his four overs, Rajasthan were more than happy to play him out. Australia batsman Steve Smith made 38 off 31 to take to team the brink of victory. Kohli thus lost his 100th game as RCB captain. He has 44 wins and 51 defeats.
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