The Royals came into this game off a narrow loss to CSK, with sole focus on getting their Vivo IPL 2019 campaign back on track after 3 unlucky losses on the trot. At the other end of the spectrum, RCB’s underwhelming start to their VIVO IPL 2019 has definitely been a surprise to many, and left them rock bottom on the points table. A sizzling surge of Shreyas Gopal googlies derailed the top-end batting order of RCB, limiting them to a total of 158-4. As Shreyas made all the difference in the bowling department, the Royals’ top order batting took care of the rest with Jos Buttler leading the attack. The Royals grabbed their vital first victory with both hands and won the game by 7 wickets with a final total of 164-3. Both captains knew the psychological advantage of winning the toss on a dry pitch that was expected to have some dew in the latter half of the game. The Royals won their 4th consecutive toss and for the 3rd time this season, Captain Ajinkya Rahane opted to bowl first. Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli opened for RCB and the Royals led their bowling attack with spinner Krishnappa Gowtham. The RCB innings started off reasonably as they finished the PowerPlay phase at 48-0 with Parthiv Patel looking to build some momentum. Hat-trick of Googlies While Krishnappa opened up the bowling, it would be another spinner who would have a telling impact after the Powerplay break. The lethal Virat Kohli was dismissed for just 23 runs off 25 balls by a beautiful delivery from Shreyas Gopal in the 7th over. Virat misread and pressed forward for the drive, as the ball found the space between bat and pad into the off and went on to hit the middle stump to send him walking. AB de Villiers replaced the RCB and Indian captain, only to add an additional 28 runs to his team’s total and lasting till the 3rd ball of the 9th over as he was caught and bowled, by none other than Shreyas Gopal yet again! de Villiers opted to stay a little low and caught the ball with the leading edge of the bat in an attempt to flick it but the ball went into a zone in which Shreyas Gopal made no mistake with the catch. This was the 3rd consecutive time that Shreyas had dismissed the deadly South African in the Vivo IPL with only 27 runs given away in total. RCB were dealt a double blow with the loss of two of their biggest names going into the strategic time-out. Parthiv Patel was sitting on 32 (17) and was joined by Hetmeyer. Hetmeyer found little rhythm and was dismissed after facing just 9 balls in the 11th over by the man on fire; Shreyas Gopal! The ball spun across the left hander as he attempted a poke, causing him to edge the ball, as the ever-dependable Jos Buttler behind the stumps took care of the rest. It’s one thing to take an important wicket, but to reel three big ones in is quite something! At 74-3 after 10 overs, RCB needed runs on the board and managed to add a further 58 runs until the 18th over. Before that Parthiv Patel was dismissed in the 18th over by a Jofra Archer delivery which was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at long on. There were some good spells from Krishnappa Gowtham and a tight over from Stuart Binny that restricted RCB overall. Moeen Ali and Marcos Stoinis had a late charge, adding 18(9) and 31(28) respectively, comprising of two boundaries and a six each. Chasing down 159 With eyes fixed on the target, we looked all set to unleash our batting potential to earn the first victory of the campaign. We got off to the perfect start as Buttler hit his first boundary, placing the ball through the gap at extra cover. He was getting into the mood as he followed this up in the next few overs by dispatching deliveries from Navdeep Saini and Umesh Yadav with both brute power and textbook cricketing shots. The 4th over saw Buttler hit Saini for 3 boundaries, comprising of a powerful shot over extra cover and placing one past 3rd man. Rahane also did not shy away as he hit a flurry of boundaries to get an opening partnership going. At the end of the PowerPlay phase, we were 55-0 with Rahane at 21(17) and Buttler at 28 (19). Halfway through the 8th over, Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Rahane for an LBW with a googly. Steve Smith would join the fray next and contribute with a measured innings comprising of two boundaries and one six. It was a steady performance and a solidifying partnership with Buttler that followed. Buttler continued in fine fashion till the 12th over and notched up 59 runs off 43 balls. He was dismissed by a delivery from Yuzvendra Chahal where he went to smack it off to long off but mistimed it, and got caught by Stoinis. Rahul Tripathi replaced Jos Buttler at the crease to contribute a further 34 off just 23 balls. Smith was later dismissed by a Siraj delivery, as he attempted to expedite the chase with an attempted fence clearing shot into long-on but was caught easily by Umesh Yadav. The game was brought home by Tripathi who hit the penultimate ball of the innings for a six to seal the game for us. This will go down as a memorable victory that was earned with tremendous determination, resolve and focus. It is easy to lose heart when previous good performances do not translate into victories. That was not the case as the Royals crossed the finish line and put the game to bed.
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