Steve Smith’s decision to bat first when the general trend in the Dream11 IPL is to bowl after winning the toss backfired completely as Rajasthan Royals crashed to an eight-wicket loss against an inspired Royal Challenges Bangalore.
The first afternoon game of this year’s IPL turned out to be a one-sided affair with RCB registering their third win in four matches at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. It was for the first time since 2013 that RCB have won three out of their first four matches in IPL.
The comprehensive win also helped RCB to jump to the top of the points tally with six points to their credit. On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals faced their second defeat on the trot after launching their campaign on a rousing note with two wins in the first two ties.
RCB, which never won the IPL title in the earlier twelve editions, are one of the best teams on the view so far and underlined the fact that they are capable of breaking the IPL jinx this season.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal emerged as the chief architects of RCB’s commanding win over Rajasthan Royals with an inspired performance.
While Chahal grabbed a three-wicket haul to restrict Rajasthan Royals to a modest 154 for 6, Kohli, who led from the front, in the company of Padikkal steered their side home with five balls to spare.
Chasing a comparatively easy target of 155, Kohli, who hardly scored any runs in the previous three matches, was striking the ball brilliantly from the word go. Unfazed by the early departure of Aaron Finch, Padikkal and Kohli thwarted all attempts of the Rajasthan Royals with a sensible batting display. The two put up 99 runs in 80 balls for the second wicket.
Padikkal’s 63 runs off 45 (6×3, 1×6) was the cornerstone, but Kohli also cracked an unbeaten 72 off just 53 balls (7×4, 2×6) as they raced to the target without any hiccups. Captain Kohli’s last 43 runs came off just 23 balls, giving the hopes that he is back in top form.
In only his fourth IPL innings, tall southpaw Padikkal powered to his third fifty. The stylish opener looked at ease from the start of the innings. An effortless six off Jaydev Unadkat over deep midwicket fence on the second ball set the ball rolling for him.
Padikkal finally lost his stumps to Jofra Archer when he was stepping away to make room, but AB de Villiers (12 not out) joined Kohli to knock off the remaining runs quite comfortably.
Earlier, Jos Buttler looked good during his brief stay, but Smith and in-form Sanju Samson didn’t last long enough which put Royals on the backfoot straightway.
Royals brought in Mahipal Lomror for this game ahead of Ankit Rajpoot, and the left-hander repaid that faith with a robust knock of 47 when wickets were falling regularly at the other end. At the death, the big-hitting pair of Rahul Tewatia and Jofra Archer smashed four sixes between them to push the Royals past the 150-run mark.
Leggie Chahal picked up another three-wicket haul conceding 24 runs. Seamers Isuru Udana (2-41) and Navdeep Saini (1-37) also bowled superbly to restrict the opponents.
Rajasthan Royals 154 for 6 in 20 overs (Mahipal Lomror 47, Rahul Tewatia 24 not out, Jos Butler 22, Robin Uthappa 17, Riyan Parag 16, Jofra Archer 16 not out; Yuzvendra Chahal 3-24, Isuru Udana 2-41, Navdeep Saini 1-37) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 for 2 in 19.1 overs (Virat Kohli 72 not out, Devdutt Padikkal 63, AB de Villiers 12 not out, Aaron Finch 8; Jofra Archer 1-18, Shreyas Gopal 1-27) by 8 wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Yuzvendra Chahal (RCB).