Royal win for Challengers
Winning convincingly is something new to Royal Challengers Bangalore this year and Saturday was a start.
But faced with an easy chase of 118 in their 100th T20 match overall, the hosts nearly threatened another close finish before holding their nerve to seal a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals with 2.1 overs to spare.
Chris Gayle (49 not out, 44b, 4×4, 1×6) led the way again on a night when skipper Virat Kohli failed probably for the first time with the bat this season and AB de Villiers defied logic by throwing his wicket away cheaply again.
However, Gayle and Saurabh Tiwary (25 not out, 29b, 2×4, 1×6) impressed to finish the job after Tillakaratne Dilshan (25, 22b, 5×4, 0x6) provided the acceleration early on in the innings.
Earlier, Royals played the role of good visitors, handing RCB the advantage with a performance that lacked bite.
Asked to bat first, Rahul Dravid’s men collapsed from promising positions before surrendering at 117 all out as RCB’s pace quartet of R Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Ravi Rampaul and RP Singh accounted for nine Royals wickets.
Shane Watson was the first to go as he attempted an uppish drive off Ravi Rampaul only to find Murali Kartik at mid-off in the third over.
With Dravid playing the holding role, Ajinkya Rahane carted Rampaul for a six in the fifth over. Trying too hard to force the issue, he then perished for 14, skying Jaydev Unadkat’s slower one to a waiting Dilshan at point.
The script then seemed perfect for Bangalore boys Stuart Binny and Dravid as they set about stabilizing the Royals innings. Binny quickly turned aggressor with a flat six behind square-leg in Murali Kartik’s first over.
The Karnataka lad raced to 33 off 19 balls before trying to pull a widish one from Man-of-the-Match Vinay Kumar, offering wicketkeeper Arun Karthik an easy catch in the 10th over.
Dravid then sought to increase the scoring rate himself with a couple of neatly-timed boundaries. However, he fell victim to Kartik’s persistent pressure in the 14th over.
Trying to clear the long-on boundary, Dravid (35, 31b, 5×4, 0x6) mistimed a full toss which went straight to Rampaul. The skipper’s wicket was a deep gash in Royals’ flesh at the time and the bleeding just didn’t stop thereafter.