R. Ashwin (3/17) and Kuldeep Sen (4/20) put the skids on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to give Rajasthan Royals a 29-run win in an IPL fixture in Pune on Tuesday.
Set a moderate target of 145, RCB stumbled to 115, and fell to a second consecutive loss. RCB and India star Virat Kohli fell for a low score yet again, prised out for nine this time by fast bowler Prasidh Krishna.
Fellow pacer Kuldeep then broke RCB’s back by taking the wickets of skipper Faf Du Plessis (23) and Glenn Maxwell (0) in the seventh over. Ashwin got into the act soon after, reducing RCB to 92 for seven. Dinesh Karthik, so crucial to RCB’s fortunes, was run-out for six.
Wanindu Hasaranga (18, 13b, 2x4) tried to take the attacking route, but when he was sent back by Sen, it was game over.
After being put in to bat, RR rode on an unbeaten 56 from Riyan Parag to record a fighting total. RR did not have the best of starts, falling to 33 for three inside the Powerplay.
Opener Jos Buttler, who entered the fixture with two consecutive centuries to his name, failed to make an impact. Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood took the key wicket with a skiddy good length ball that surprised Buttler. The England hitter was caught on the crease, and his hurried pull shot was smartly caught by Mohammed Siraj at mid-on.
Siraj was impressive with the ball as well, dismissing Devdutt Padikkal (7) and R. Ashwin (17). Siraj trapped Padikkal on the pads with a searing full delivery before taking out Ashwin with a sharp short ball.
Sanju Samson (27, 21b, 1x4, 3x6) and Daryl Mitchell (16, 24b) got together for a 35-run fourth-wicket stand. Mitchell could not get going, and holed out to long-on. Skipper Samson’s attempted reverse-sweep off Sri Lankan spinner Hasaranga resulted in the batter losing his stumps.
Hasaranga picked up his second scalp when Shimron Hetmyer’s slog sweep sailed high to fielder Suyash Prabhudessai.
Parag rescued RR with a late cameo. He provided the fireworks in the death overs, bowled by Hazlewood and Harshal Patel. Hazlewood conceded 12 runs in the 19th over, while Harshal was tonked by Parag for 18 runs - including two sixes - in the final over.
Parag recorded his first fifty of this IPL season. The Assam cricketer was under pressure after a poor run thus far, with a highest score of only 18 before this fixture. He made most of a life offered by Hasaranga, who dropped a sitter earlier in the knock.
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