On a night full of ups and downs and breathtaking cricket, the Royals ended up on the wrong side, conceding their first defeat of IPL 2022.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 173/6 (19.1 overs) beat Rajasthan Royals 169/3 (20 overs) by 4 wickets
To call it a close contest is an understatement. A heart-in-the-mouth-edge-of-the-seat thriller is probably a better way to describe this match. Unfortunately, the result wasn\"t in our favour tonight.
Until the 19th over of the first innings, it looked like the Wankhede Stadium was dishing out another low-scoring affair, as has been the case this season. The wicket was two-paced, there was enough movement for the pacers and the Powerplay was tricky for the batters. But then came the firing pair of Jos Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer, who kept hanging in there for their chance to go berserk. After having played out a difficult period in the middle overs, the duo powered the Royals to the season\"s highest first-innings total at this venue. The last two overs yielded 42 runs, courtesy of some much needed pinch-hitting.
With dew making its presence felt as early as in the first innings and even more so in the second, defending any total was always going to be challenging. The Bangalore openers were watchful in the first six overs of their chase but were undone in the next two, giving us an early opening.
Once again, it was Yuzvendra Chahal at his best, with the perfect breakthrough in the form of Faf du Plessis\" wicket. He then ran Virat Kohli out, helped by Sanju Samson\"s brilliant throw at the non-striker\"s end. On his next ball, he cleaned up Sherfane Rutherford to swing the momentum in the Royals\" favour. By the end of the 13th over, things were looking hopeful for the Royals.
But it wasn\"t to be. Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed\"s late impetus scripted an unbelievable turnaround for Bangalore, who won the contest with four wickets and five balls to spare.
It was a fight we\"re proud of. Despite the conditions being against us, we fought hard till the end and didn\"t let our shoulders drop.
Some positives we take away from the match:
Buttler\"s patient knock
On a pitch that wasn\"t a typical batting paradise, Buttler showed tremendous patience and paced his innings to suit the slow surface, much against his natural batting style. His 70-run partnership with Devdutt Padikkal for the 2nd wicket helped the Royals go past the Powerplay without further damage. Barring a couple of sixes early on, the opener didn\"t take any risk right until the 19th over, when he smashed back-to-back sixes off Mohammed Siraj. He finished with an unbeaten 70 off 47 balls, including six sixes - a pivotal contribution to the Royals\" total of 173.
Chahal\"s form continues
For the second match in a row, Chahal picked up wickets off consecutive deliveries and he seems to be making a habit out of it. This time, it was an important run-out in the form of Kohli and Rutherford to follow. He finished as the most economical bowler for the Royals with figures of 2/15 in 4 overs.
It was a tough day at the office for us, considering the fact that we had momentum at one point and were ahead in the game. Our batters did a commendable job after being put in to bat first. Our bowlers kept going despite heavy dew coming into play. But this is the nature of T20 cricket, and as our captain Sanju Samson said at the post-match presentation, we have "a lot of positives to take out of this loss, and we can learn a lot of things as well."
We return to Wankhede for our next encounter on April 10 against Lucknow Super Giants.
What did you think of our performance tonight? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or with me, @arey_yaar