The Royal Challengers Bangalore are on the brink. Another awful batting performance, another big defeat, this time to the Gujarat Lions, and RCB are pretty much done as far as this season is concerned, unless something spectacular happens in their final five games of IPL 2017.
Put into bat first on a much better pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the ground where the last match was rained off, RCB's top order went for a holiday, with Andrew Tye helping himself to a cracking three-for.
With just 135 to chase down, Aaron Finch (72, 34b, 5x4, 6x6) led the way for the Gujarat Lions, who completed a comprehensive win to climb out of the bottom of the IPL 2017 points table.
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Left-hander Ishan Kishan was sent in to open the innings with Brendon McCullum by the Gujarat Lions, probably to try and take on the leg-spinner Samuel Badree, who was always going to bowl in the Powerplay.
It worked for eight balls, but the wily Badree got a quicker one in to trap Kishan (16, 11b, 4x4) in front.
Brendon McCullum (3, 6b) then threw his wicket away by holing out at long-on to give Badree his second wicket, and just when RCB were sensing a way back into this game, Finch came in and counter-attacked with stunning effect.
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The Australian started off by hitting Badree for two massive sixes – the first one that hit the flap of the roof and the second one that went 94 metres – before carrying that boundary-hitting mood all the way home.
Thanks to Finch's counter – one which got the Australian the fastest half-century by a Gujarat Lion, off 22 balls – the nerves went back into the settled zone, and the Gujarat Lions went on to cruise the chase, with Suresh Raina (34 n.o., 30b, 4x4, 1x6) completing the innings with aplomb.
This was another RCB batting innings that will be filed under, "what on earth were we thinking."
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As good as the Gujarat Lions bowled, so many of the wickets that fell for the Royal Challengers Bangalore were self-inflicted.
Virat Kohli (10, 13b, 1x6) should have really found the gap, instead of the man at short fine, while going for a little short-arm jab pull off Basil Thampi.
RCB lost three wickets in four balls when Andrew Tye – what a bowler he has been for the Gujarat Lions in IPL 2017 – found the outside edges of Chris Gayle (8, 11b, 1x4) and Travis Head (0, 1b) off successive deliveries, but the next couple of wickets were so, so avoidable.
Kedar Jadhav was doing brilliantly for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, changing the tempo and mood of the innings after those early blows by counter-attacking to great effect. The key to a great counter-attack, though, is knowing which balls to hit.
Jadhav (31, 18b, 4x4, 1x6) got a little too ahead of himself after a few boundaries, and tried to get a little too cute against Ravindra Jadeja, by going for a late cut off a delivery that came in with the angle. The result was the woodwork taking a beating.
Next, Mandeep Singh and AB De Villiers had a horrible mix-up and to make matters worse, it was De Villiers (5, 11b) who got run out off a direct hit from Jadeja.
With five down and RCB desperate for some kind of partnership, Pawan Negi came in and added 40 runs in four overs with Mandeep, with the former doing all the hitting.
Negi (32, 19b, 3x4, 2x6) then got out at the wrong time to debutant Ankit Soni, and from there it was about scratching their way to some kind of total, even if that total was not even remotely enough.
IPL 2017 RCB vs GL scorecard:
Toss: Gujarat Lions won the toss and chose to bowl.
RCB: 134 all out in 20 overs.
Gujarat Lions: 135/3 in 13.5 overs.
Result: Gujarat Lions won by seven wickets with 37 balls remaining.
Bowling: Gujarat Lions: Nathu Singh 2-0-8-0; Basil Thampi 4-0-34-1; Andrew Tye 4-0-12-3; Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-28-2; Ankit Soni 3-0-28-1; James Faulkner 3-0-15-1.
RCB: Samuel Badree 3-0-29-2; S Aravind 3-0-19-0; Aniket Choudhary 2-0-21-0; Yuzvendra Chahal 3-0-29-0; Pawan Negi 2-0-24-1; Travis Head 0.5-0-11-0.
Fall of wickets: RCB: 22/1, Virat Kohli (3.5 overs); 22/2, Chris Gayle (4.1 overs); 22/3, Travis Head (4.2 overs); 58/4, Kedar Jadhav (8.4 overs); 60/5, AB De Villiers (9.3 overs); 100/6, Pawan Negi (13.4 overs); 105/7, Samuel Badree (14.3 overs); 110/8, Mandeep Singh (15.5 overs); 133/9, S Aravind (19.4 overs); 134/10, Yuzvendra Chahal (20 overs).
Gujarat Lions: 18/1, Ishan Kishan (2.3 overs); 23/2, Brendon McCullum (4.1 overs); 115/3, Aaron Finch (12.1 overs).