Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal took an incredible hat-trick in a rain-curtailed five-overs-a-side match against Royal Challengers Bangalore that was eventually called off with just 10 balls remaining, ending RCB’s hopes of qualifying for the IPL playoffs.
It was a match that almost didn’t happen after a thunderstorm hit Bengaluru on Tuesday. But groundstaff at the Chinnaswamy Stadium cleared the ground for play and the stage was set for five-overs-a-side game.
RCB batted first and captain Virat Kohli made his intentions clear from the off, smashing the first two balls bowled by pacer Varun Aaron for sixes.
But just when he seemed to be getting into top speed, leggie Gopal deceived Kohli into hitting one straight to long on in the second over. Next ball, fellow opener AB de Villiers skied a slog to cover as RCB lost two in two. In Gopal’s last four games against RCB in IPL, he has dismissed both Kohli and ABD in three of those matches, which is a staggering achievement.
More glory awaited Gopal as next man Marcus Stoinis slapped the leggie to mid off to complete the hat-trick.
After a strong start, Bangalore could only reach 62 after losing seven wickets.
In reply, Rajasthan raced to 40 in three overs and needed 22 from 10 balls when it started raining again, forcing the players off the ground and bringing a premature end to the game. With both teams sharing a point, RCB were officially knocked out of the IPL while Rajasthan too suffered as two points seemed within their grasp.
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