Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore: 171/5 in 20 overs, beat Rajasthan Royals: 59 all out in 10.3 overs, by 112 runs.

Read play-by-play updates here.

Rajasthan Royals endured a rather off day with the bat to lose to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 112 runs in the IPL on Sunday. In what was an afternoon start at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, the Men In Pink did well to restrict RCB to 171/5 in their 20 overs. The visitors had to work hard with Adam Zampa (2-25) and KM Asif (2-42) putting in a quality show under the scorching heat. For RCB, Faf du Plessis (55) and Glenn Maxwell (54) led the charge while Anuj Rawat’s 11-ball 29* helped them push the score a bit.

In reply, the Royals were off-colour and were bowled out for 59 by the 11th over, our second-lowest total in the IPL. With the pitch going a bit slow and the afternoon sun setting, batting became comparatively difficult. Though Shimron Hetmyer (35) took the fight to the opponents, with the Caribbean hitman losing out on partners and time, his fight proved to be futile. 

Adam Zampa helps keep things tight

Coming into what was nothing short of a must-win match, the Royals’ team management surprised many when Trent Boult was rested with Zampa coming into the playing XI. But little did anyone know that the Aussie would turn out to be the trump card. Given the nature of the pitch and the baking heat (temperatures raised to around 40 degrees Celsius), Zampa was influential with his spin and guile as we restricted RCB to a competitive score.

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Coming into the attack in the second over, he stuck to the stumps and bowled to the field, often using his intuitiveness to outfox the batters. While the Aussie spinner restricted the flow of runs in his first spell, Zampa was handsomely rewarded in the second as he closed out with figures of 2-25. 

Asif too put up a fine show, chipping in with crucial wickets at regular intervals. Just when RCB was looking to accelerate after a cautious start, Asif sent Kohli packing with a smart change of pace in his first over and then returned to dismiss a dangerous-looking Du Plessis in the 15th. Though he conceded 18 runs in the final over, the Royals’ pacer was instrumental in stopping RCB from letting lose.

Shimron Hetmyer leads the lone fight

With the required rate of around nine runs per over, the Royals were looking to get off to a comfortable start. But unlike in the past, openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler didn’t trouble the scorers while captain Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal were dismissed when trying to push hard. 

But walking in at 20/4, our hitman Hetmyer showed no signs of pressure and hammered Michael Bracewell for a massive six, over long-on, to make his intentions clear. Later, he tore into Karn Sharma with three back-to-back maximums to add life to the chase. But the lone fighter on the evening who lived by the sword throughout his innings was dismissed when trying to clear the man at long-on.

The loss in Jaipur meant RCB, with 12 points, leapfrogged us to fifth place on the IPL 2023 points table. With just another group-stage match to go, we will have to make sure that we get the best possible result when we take on Punjab Kings in Dharamsala on Friday.