26th April 2014

That's how the Royals Win!

What happened on the ground today was a fairy tale for Rajasthan Royals and a nightmare for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Who would have thought that the best batting line-up of IPL 2014 slumped to a mere score of 70 runs? But it did happen and the credit goes to RR bowlers.

Both sides got what they wanted out of the toss in Abu Dhabi. Shane Watson decided to field, with Virat Kohli saying he would have batted anyway. Watson said Rajasthan Royals preferred chasing and would like to restrict a "top-heavy" line-up.

Both sides also made two changes each to their XIs. For Royals, Karun Nair, the 22-year old Karnataka batsman, made his IPL debut, in place of Dhawal Kulkarni, and Kane Richardson replaced James Faulkner. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ravi Rampaul came in for his first match of the season instead of Muttiah Muralitharan, while Varun Aaron sat out and Sachin Rana was included.

Stuart Binny bowled the first over for RR. And he did exactly (and even more) what was expected from him. Yogesh Takawale decided to show some aggression on a medium-pace ball of Binny; but nice shape on the ball meant it kissed the outside edge and ended up with the keeper. Immediately in the next ball, Virat Kohli called for a run but Parthiv Patel was low in responding to the call and got run-out. RCB thus, lost their openers in the first over, which was the beginning of the dramatic batting collapse.

Within the first 14 deliveries of the match, they lost four wickets, including those of AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh. Tim Southee bowled the second over giving away only 4 runs maintaining the pressure on RCB batsmen. In came bearded Kane Richardson for the third over and how he bowled! 2 wickets in first 2 balls!

First ball gets Yuvraj: He outside edged to a rather slow ball straight to the second slip fielder. That was a really poor attempt.

Next ball gets AB de Villiers: Another slow delivery just outside off and AB had a lazy waft at that one, ending up chopping it on to his stumps.

The scorecard read: 5/4 in 2.2 overs.

The pressure was building on RCB batsmen and they had to bat sensibly to sustain the not-so-friendly pitch & the superb bowling attack of RR. Virat Kohli tried to hit a few good shots but Rana got out to Watson in the 6th over. In came Morkel who was expected to deliver well considering his team needed him the most.

However, it was Pravin Tambe's day out at the park! Tambe got Morkel first with his slow flighted delivery out of the ground, which Morkel only managed to get the toe of the bat and it lobed gently for Steven Smith at mid-off.

In came Mitchell Starc who gave Kohli good support adding 18 runs - which was also the highest partnership of the RCB innings.

In his next over, Tambe got Captain Kohli with his slow short ball. Kohli hit it high on the pad and lobed it straight to the fielder Southee, who took an easy catch.

Starc and Rampaul added 16 runs to the scorecard before Rajat Bhatia bowled a wide outside off delivery, giving Starc an invitation to go for cut, and then to be caught by Binny.

RCB was 62-8 when Tambe was given to bowl his final over. He picked up last wickets giving away 8 runs wrapping up RCB innings with the lowest score of IPL 2014 so far.

All in all, it was the biggest batting collapse for a team that includes some of the strongest batsmen of recent times. RCB batsmen looked clueless against the well disciplined bowling attack of RR. They were all out for 70 runs in 15 overs.

The game was not over yet, as they put up fighting spirit in their bowling. The pitch was bowlers' paradise and that was clearly seen in RR's batting as well. Starting well, RR too lost wickets at regular intervals.

However, 70 runs were below par and it was a welcome triumph for Rajasthan Royals after 2 successive defeats against KXIP & CSK.

Man of the Match: Pravin Tambe for claiming 4 wickets! This is his second 4-for wickets in T20. The veteran bowler uses his spin very smartly striking when his team needs the most experienced player to win it for the team.

Well done Royals! Now let's keep the momentum going.

According to you, what was the turning point in today's match?

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