Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, two of India’s most prolific T20 batsmen, faced each other when the Royal Challengers Bangalore took on the Gujarat Lions in Match 31 of IPL 2017. Going into the game, the hosts could not afford any more slip-ups after winning only 2 of their 8 games thus far. The fortunes of the visitors – the current wooden-spooners, weren’t great either.
At one point in the game, it seemed like RCB, batting first, would not go past more than 110 runs after the start they had. But with the help of tail-enders, they put up 134 on the board, which was an easy chase for Gujarat, who won by 7 wickets.
Aaron Finch made batting look effortless easy as he scored a quick half-century to take his team to a win. For RCB, it is almost impossible to reach the playoffs after this loss.
Here are 5 memorable moments from the match that don't fade away, quite like the Axe Signature range of body perfumes.
#1 Captain Kohli fails again
Virat Kohli failed to get going one more time as he fell for 10 runs. This was the RCB skipper’s 3rd score of below 50 in 5 innings in this edition so far.
Basil Thampi thumped Kohli. The ball was directed at the body, Kohli managed to get hold of it and pulled it off the middle of the bat, but couldn't keep in mind the man who was placed perhaps just for this shot at short fine leg.
The fielder Aaron Finch somehow gobbled up the ball after it threatened to pop out. For Thampi, who is playing his first IPL, removing the best in the business was a dream moment.
#2 Andrew Tye’s terrific spell
After Virat Kohli’s big wicket silenced the crowd at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Andrew Tye’s terrific spell added further woes to the RCB batting line-up. The 30-year old removed Chris Gayle and Travis Head in the same over.
The ball to Gayle nipped away and took the edge. Gayle had a lame poke at it and managed to edge it. Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps had only an easy bargain to make.
Travis Head too edged the delivery off Tye for Raina to take it at first slip. Two wickets in two consecutive balls completely took away the momentum from RCB. The slump further continued as AB de Villiers ran himself out in the 9th over for only 5 runs.
#3 The wagging tail
After Pawan Negi’s beneficial contribution of 32 runs from 19 balls, it was Sreenath Aravind and Aniket Choudhary, the two RCB bowlers, who played a small but significant cameo for the ninth wicket to take the struggling side’s s total to 134.
After the kind of start RCB had, Kohli looked happy with the final target. While Aravind chipped in 9 runs, Choudhary remained not out on 15. The two pacers managed to stitch together more runs than other big names in the batting line-up.
134 seemed a decent target for the hosts, who were humiliated by KKR in their last game, being bowled out for 49.
#4 Samuel Badree’s opening spell
Early wickets were just what RCB needed to keep their hopes alive. And Samuel Badree delivered just that. He removed Ishan Kishan (16 from 11) in the second over and Brendon McCullum (3 from 6) in the fourth over to bring some momentum to the home team.
Badree’s skidder may have expected a slog-sweep from Kishan, firing it straight on the stumps. But the delivery was enough to defeat the batsman's instincts and strike him dead in front.
To dismiss the Kiwi batsman, Badree followed McCullum and did not give him room to free his arms. That was some very clever bowling from the Trinidadian. However, Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch were too good for a third wicket partnership and killed RCB’s hopes.
#5 Aaron Finch’s power-hitting
Finch’s match winning knock was what took away the game completely from RCB. Coming in at number four, he fired on all cylinders as he blazed his way through a splendid 34-ball 72. He hit 6 sixes and 5 fours and was well supported by Raina who played his second fiddle.
Finch’s power hitting is unstoppable and when he gets going it becomes almost difficult to stop him. He took the game by the scruff of the neck and smoked the bowlers all over the park which enabled lions to bolster their net run rate too.