IPL 2019: Shreyas Gopal spins out RCB's batting mainstays

Royal Challengers Bangalore was off to a good start after being asked to bat first, but Shreyas Gopal's strikes pegged the visitor back.

Shreyas Gopal (left) broke the spine of Royal Challengers Bangalore's batting line-up.   -  AFP

Virat Kohli's difficulties against legspin surfaced again on Tuesday, with Rajasthan Royals' Shreyas Gopal bowling him through the gate with a googly. This, after Ajinkya Rahane had won the toss and chosen to field first against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 14th match of the season.

Opening the batting with Parthiv Patel, Kohli had led RCB off to a good start, with Bangalore reaching 48 for no loss at the end of the powerplay.

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Kohli had a scare on the first ball he faced from Gopal, who appealed strongly for a leg-before with the RCB captain seemingly hit on the pad. The replays showed that Kohli had gloved the ball before it hit his pad. This was conventional leg-spin.

The next ball, so often the key after the batsman has been troubled on the previous delivery, was a googly. Kohli, seemingly still thinking about the previous ball, played for the leg spin again, but this time, the ball had pitched outside his off-stump and spun back sharply to clatter into off and middle stump.

Adam Zampa, most recently, and Adil Rashid have been the other leg-break bowlers who have had Kohli's number in limited-overs cricket.

Gopal set off in celebration, closing his mouth with his hand in gesture of taking a wicket in the manner he did.

Gopal added an equally important wicket in his second over, this time having AB de Villiers caught and bowled off a ball that seemed to stop on the South African batsman.

Already beset by the dismissals of Kohli and de Villiers, RCB lost Shimron Hetmyer soon after, Gopal the wicket-taker once again. This was another googly that Hetmyer didn't quite pick and playing away from his body, he got an outside edge through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps.

From being 48 for no loss, Bangalore slipped to 73 for three in the space of 25 balls. For Gopal, the ball came beautifully out of his hands and it's a night he won't forget anytime soon. He finished with figures of three for 12 in four overs. This is his second three-for of the season, having taken three for 27 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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