Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal got it right with a stunning series of wrong ones. Gopal came up with a dream spell that helped his team post its first win after three straight defeats. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, which lost by seven wickets, the nightmare continued. Virat Kohli’s men are the only ones without a win after four games.
READ| As it happened
The evening had begun promisingly enough for Kohli though, despite losing the toss, in what was his 100th match at the helm of the IPL franchise. He came out to open along with Parthiv Patel and the PowerPlay produced 48, already the best opening-wicket partnership for RCB this season.
Ajinkya Rahane might have begun to doubt whether his decision to field first was the right one when he tossed the ball to Gopal.
The leg-spinner obliged. And how!
His second ball was a googly to Kohli, and it produced a big shout for lbw. There was no need to shout after his next: another wrong one that went through a rather wide gate to clean up the world’s best batsman.
In his second over, Shreyas sent back another all-time great. It was yet another googly, which had A.B. de Villiers edging a low return catch to the bowler.
In his next over, he had the gifted, but struggling, Shimron Hetmyer caught behind, the wrong one spinning right across the left-hander.
Shreyas’s first spell read 3-1-8-3. In three overs, he had dismissed the world batting’s presence, immediate past and future.
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Parthiv, meanwhile, was giving the impression that he was batting on another pitch. He timed his shots well, particularly square off the wicket, and raced to a well-earned fifty off 29 balls.
He added 53 with Marcus Stoinis for the fourth wicket, which ensured they would end up with a decent total.
But, pretty soon, Rahane and Jos Buttler would prove that it wasn’t quite enough. They put on 60 for the first wicket before Yuzvendra Chahal, whose role was going to be crucial for the Challengers, had the Royals captain lbw.
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The leg-spinner then also had Buttler caught at long-off. But his 59 off 43 balls had firmly put Rajasthan on the road to victory.
He walked off, disgusted with his own shot. But surely, he would not have felt as bad when he left the middle last time on this ground – after being Mankaded by Kings XI Punjab’s R. Ashwin a week ago.
After losing Steve Smith (38) off the last ball of the penultimate over, the host needed five from the last. When one was required from two balls, Rahul Tripathi (34 not out) audaciously pulled Umesh Yadav over mid-wicket for six.