Royal Challengers Bangalore handed Rajasthan Royals a major jolt in its IPL 2023 playoffs bid with a colossal 112-run win at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
A horrendous batting implosion on its home turf has placed the 2022 runner-up on the brink of an early exit before its final league game, while RCB strengthened its chances by moving to the fifth spot with 12 points.
Chasing a daunting 172-run target on a dry surface, the famed Royals top-order was blown away by a rejuvenated PowerPlay burst by RCB. Mohammed Siraj, who went wicketless in two successive games, removed the aggressive Yashasvi Jaiswal for a two-ball duck in the first over.
Left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell silenced the spectators in pink when he prized out Jos Buttler for his fourth duck of the season before skipper Sanju Samson aimlessly offered a leading-edge catch in the second over.
Batting for the first time in three matches since his debut, Joe Root was burdened with staging a recovery. His objective found negligible support from impact sub Devdutt Padikkal, who chipped leg-spinner Michael Bracewell to mid-wicket in the fifth over. Parnell (3/10) returned to trap Root leg-before as Royals were reduced to 28 for five in the PowerPlay.
Wickets continued to tumble as left-hander Shimron Hetmyer gave a semblance of a counter when he whacked four sixes, including three in succession of leggie Karn Sharma. A rapid dust storm soon added to the challenge before Hetmyer and the lower-order surrendered at 59 - Royals’ second-lowest total across 16 seasons.
Earlier, Samson lost the toss for the first time in nine matches and the Royals were asked to field under sweltering conditions.
RCB openers du Plessis and Virat Kohli played out the spinners with a conservative approach even as the side was restricted to its joint-lowest PowerPlay score (42) this season. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who replaced Trent Boult in the XI, cramped the batters upfront before R. Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal followed with attacking lines.
Seamer KM Asif then utilised the boundary drought and forced a desperate Kohli to hole out to Jaiswal at extra cover with a slower ball in the seventh over.
However, Royals’ attempt to assert dominance was immediately thwarted by Glenn Maxwell, who spanked the spin trio for boundaries in succession.
While the bowlers briefly succeeded in drying up the runs, Maxwell released the pressure with an audacious reverse-slap and cut for fours behind square on the off-side against Sandeep Sharma. Ashwin slid one into the slot, and the Aussie smacked it over long-on for six to lead RCB past 100 in 14 overs.
Meanwhile, du Plessis came out of his shell to slam Asif for a massive six over mid-wicket for his season’s seventh half-century off 41 balls. However, Asif’s deft change of pace foxed the RCB captain, with Jaiswal latching onto another catch at extra cover. Zampa returned to help RR skip the RCB middle-order as he snared Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik within three deliveries.
While Maxwell (54, 33b, 5x4, 3x6) failed to stay till the end after crossing his half-century with a stunning swipe for six off Chahal, Anuj Rawat’s unbeaten 29 off 11 balls helped RCB reach a respectable total. The left-hander smoked Asif for two successive sixes and a four in the final over, swinging the momentum RCB’s way before the break.
- Medical panel will decide on Naseem Shah’s return to cricket: Pakistan Board
- Al Raed vs Al Nassr LIVE Score: ALR 0-0 NAS, Early chance for Ronaldo, Saudi Pro League updates
- Hangzhou Asian Games Village inaugurated
- Indian sports news wrap, September 16
- Axar Patel to Naseem Shah - Full list of injured players ahead of ODI World Cup 2023