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Not a game for the faint of heart! And Rajasthan Royals learnt it the hard way as they endured a seven-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. At the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the Men in Pink gave it their best, but it was not enough.
Opting to field, Sanju Samson and Co. were off to a dream start with Trent Boult dismissing Virat Kohli in the first ball of the innings. While the Kiwi pacer got another in his second to take his IPL wickets tally to 101, Faf du Plessis (62) and Glenn Maxwell (77) played brilliantly to help RCB to 189/9 in their 20 overs.
In reply, the Royals wavered a bit when Mohammed Siraj cleaned up Jos Buttler in the fourth ball of the chase. But Yashasvi Jaiswal (47) and Devdutt Padikkal (52) fought back to keep them in the hunt. Later, Dhruv Jurel also produced an unbeaten 16-ball 34. But the target was a bit too far from reach.
Boult’s fiery start
It doesn’t matter who he’s up against. If Boult – in the pink of Rajasthan Royals – has the ball for the opening over, a wicket is all but certain. And this time it was Virat Kohli’s turn to face the wrath. A full, in-swinging delivery, on the target and past his inside edge; Kohli didn’t even bother looking at his captain Faf du Plessis at the other end and was on his way back after being caught leg before. It was Boult’s 100th wicket in the IPL.
Boulty's 100th IPL wicket - Virat Kohli. ⚡ pic.twitter.com/4Jh2351pB6— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) April 23, 2023
Off to a perfect start after asking the hosts to bat first on a batting paradise, the Royals wanted more. And once again, Boult obliged. This time sending Shahbaz Ahmed packing in the third. But with ‘Big Show’ Glenn Maxwell joining Du Plessis, the two put on a spectacle as RCB got back to a position of strength.
A late upswing
A 127-run partnership for the third wicket saw the Challengers take the fight to the Royals in some style. Both Maxwell and Du Plessis got into their act with shots flowing from their bat without much resistance. R Ashwin conceded 12 runs in his first over while Sandeep Sharma gave away two sixes and a four in his second as RCB scored briskly to post 62 in the Powerplay.
The two batters notched up deserved half-centuries in no time. But despite the onslaught, the Royals weren’t done yet. The strategic time-out helped them to regroup and they struck soon after. Du Plessis was the first to go, run out to Jaiswal’s fielding brilliance. And then, Maxwell followed. The Australian was dismissed following a smart catch by Jason Holder at the backward point.
The Royals ensured that they used the period to swing the momentum in their favour to restrict the Challengers to just 189 in their 20 overs, an effort Boult acknowledged put the team in a good position. “It’s always nice to go into the changing room with a little bit of a momentum. But, they are a classy side that knows how to play at home. So, it's not going to be an easy task, but we have the guys to chase it down,” he told the broadcasters at the break.
Jaiswal, Padikkal lead the way
But the momentum didn’t last long as an in-cutter from Siraj dislodged Buttler’s stumps in the first over of the chase. Jaiswal and Padikkal, however, didn’t let the early loss bother them as the two put together a commendable performance to keep the Royals in the hunt. Padikkal, who made a name for himself at RCB, showed what the Bengaluru fans missed as he took his state-mate Vijaykumar Vyshak to the cleaners.
Jaiswal, meanwhile, was at his dominant best scoring at a strike rate of over 100 and entertaining many with some solid batting. But once they were dismissed, the Royals found it hard to accelerate. Dhruv Jurel was the only other notable performer, raising expectations of a successful chase with his sublime shots that kept the game alive till the final over. But with the 22-year-old restricted to the non-striker’s end in the final over, there was nothing much he could do to push his team over the line.
The world may not have seen much of you yet, but they’ve seen enough to know you’re a fighter! 👏 pic.twitter.com/NhRvqTT5We— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) April 23, 2023
- Yashasvi Jaiswal played his 50th T20 match.
- Trent Boult got his 100th wicket in the IPL.
- Devdutt Padikkal completed 500 runs for Rajasthan Royals.