The coin seems to be favouring Smith in this tournament so far. The Royals skipper elected to bat this time around after bringing in Mahipal Lomror for Ankit Rajpoot to shore up the middle-order. The first over saw two boundaries flow down to the fine leg fence, one for each of the two Royals openers. Buttler hit an effortless six off Isuru Udana over mid-wicket.
The good start changed quickly as Smith chopped one on and Butler edged a drive low down to first slip. All of a sudden, we were 31/2 in 4 overs with both openers back in the pavilion. Samson got going with a boundary off his first ball, yet again, but couldn’t add to those 4 runs. He lobbed a mistimed drive back to Chahal, who dove to his right and got his fingers under the ball. The umpires had to check replays to ensure he had something under the ball. At the end of the Powerplay, Rajasthan Royals managed to score 38 runs.
Uthappa & Lomror got together at the crease as RCB employed all their spinners after the Powerplay. The former got his first boundary off Zampa, lofting the ball down the ground, just away from the reach of the long on fielder. The duo rotated the strike quite well as they put up 39 runs together. While Uthappa never really looked in great touch, Lomror looked at easy against the RCB bowlers.
The Rajasthani youngster smashed two massive sixes, one each of Chahal & Zampa, as he continued to fight with Riyan Parag after Uthappa’s departure. Rajasthan Royals crossed 100 in the 16th over, but Parag skied one up to the long on fielder. Mahipal, who was joined by Rahul Tewatia continued to look for the boundaries, as he slogged Chahal for a massive biggie over mid-wicket. Chahal responded well in the same over by pushing the ball wide outside off. Lomror took the bait, as he tried to clear long off, but in vain. Lomror walked back for a well-compiled 47 off 39 balls when all other batsmen got out cheaply.
Tewatia & Jofra, heroes from our escapades in Sharjah hit a six each in the 18th and 19th overs respectively to take the score to 139 in 19 overs. Tewatia had to contend with Nitin Saini’s pace in the final over. He tried to get across and lap one, but the ball slipped out of Saini’s hand and ended up being a beamer that hit Tewatia hard. John Gloster came out to ensure everything was alright, and Tewatia got up once again.
The next ball, a Free Hit, disappeared over square leg, in typical Tewatia fashion. On the following ball, Tewatia walked across, and used just his wrists to make the most of Saini’s pace and deposit the ball to the backward square leg fence, again. Rajasthan Royals crossed 150, and ended up with 154 on the board.
The bowlers had their tasks cut out, as we got our defense underway with a good over by Archer. The young RCB batsman, Devdutt Padikkal got going, as he played some delightful strokes off Unadkat. Shreyas Gopal, who has an astonishing record of claiming 13 wickets against RCB, was brought into the attack. He immediately rewarded Smith’s decision by trapping Finch in front, as he attempted a sweep. The umpire didn’t give it out, and the Royals had to take the review. The on-field decision was over-turned and we had our first wicket.
Padikkal kept playing a few gorgeous strokes, as Kohli settled in at the other end, looking for form. RCB had notched up 50 runs in the Powerplay, and soon after, Kohli started opening his shoulders as well. A few lapses in the field by our boys didn’t help our cause either. The RCB pair kept the required rate in check throughout the middle overs. Padikkal got to his fifty in the 12th over, off 34 balls.
Smith handed the 13th to Riyan, who was at the receiving end of some Kohli magic. The RCB skipper smashed the first ball to the cover fence and the second beyond it. The equation was brought down considerably, as they needed 51 off 42 balls with 9 wickets in their tally. Kohli got to his fifty as well, in the 15th over.
Archer came back to bowl his final over and managed to get Padikkal’s wicket, but it all but seemed like a bit too late. Padikkal scored a picturesque 45-ball 63. Kohli kept going and stayed unbeaten in the end on 72 with AB de Villiers for company.
Things didn’t go to plan for Rajasthan Royals today. Mahipal Lomror gave us a lot of hope today with the bat, and Tewatia was his usual self towards the end. Some homework will be put in now by the boys as we prepare for our next game on Tuesday, against Mumbai Indians.