Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Gujarat Lions (GL) had locked horns 4 times before tonight’s contest. RCB had registered targets of 180, 248, and 213 in 3 of these. With the track at M Chinnaswamy Stadium reputed as featherbed, another high-scoring game was on the cards. However, the Lions changed forms and fortunes and bundled out the Royal Challengers for a meagre 134 in match 31 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. The Lions put up a collective bowling performance, with Andre Tye and Ravindra Jadeja scalping 5 wickets and conceding a mere 40 runs between them. Full Cricket Scorecard: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) vs Gujarat Lions (GL) IPL 2017, Match 31 at Bengaluru
After giving away only 4 runs from the first 10 balls, the Lions bowled to Kohli’s strength and conceded the first six of the match, a strong bottom-handed flick over deep square-leg. However, the young duo of Nathu Singh and Basil Thampi bowled well in tandem, not allowing the RCB openers to open their arms. The moisture in the wicket — rain had hit Bengaluru for the past few days — helped the pace duo generate lateral movement. That said, they did not stick to one-dimensional bowling. They mixed up lengths, keeping the opposition confused. The hard work soon paid off as Kohli holed a back-of-length ball to Aaron Finch, gifting Thampi his first wicket.
With only 22 runs and the all-important wicket in 4 overs, Lions had already pushed RCB back. Wasting no time, Suresh Raina brought on his key bowler Tye into the attack. Taking cue from Nathu and Thampi’s modus operandi, Tye aimed the corridor of uncertainty. He started off with an off-cutter. Gayle, given there was no slip in place, opened the face of the bat to play it fine only to edge it behind the wickets.
That was not it. The Lions hunted down Travis Head off the very next delivery, taking 3 wickets in a spell of 4 balls. Tye was on a hat-trick for the second time in this IPL. In came Kedar Jadhav at No. 5. Anticipating another edge, Type stationed a slip but Jadhav comfortably dabbed it down.
Though RCB were in a spot of bowler, Jadhav cut loose right away and smashed 3 consecutive boundaries off Thampi. The best of these was a flick over fine-leg. He then made room and eased Jadeja’s full-length ball over cover. With AB de Villiers at the other end, Jadhav had the license to go bonkers. He pasted his first six over deep mid-wicket, scoring at a strike rate of over 200. Nonetheless, that same approach led to his downfall. He made room against Jadeja in an attempt to emulate his previous shot, but Jadeja read his footwork well and dropped short. Jadhav, cramped for room, tried to scythe it, only to get his leg-stump knocked over. Full cricket updates: RCB vs GL, IPL 2017
RCB still had de Villiers in the middle to resurrect the fallen innings. Unfortunately, things only got worse. In a horrible mix-up with Mandeep Singh, Jadeja’s sharp throw ran de Villiers out for 5. GL had thus dismantled the core of RCB batting, sending half the RCB line-up within half the innings.
RCB, without a shadow of doubt, needed stroke of luck, for the damage was done. They either had to play out 20 overs and amass as many runs, or take risk go berserk. Pawan Negi chose the second option. He scored 32 off only 19 balls, standing tall amidst a mediocre batting show. However, in pursuit of getting third six off debutant Ankit Soni, Negi swept straight to deep mid-wicket.
An over later, Jadeja picked his second wicket when Samuel Badree skied one to Ishan Kishan standing in the deep. For a moment, it seemed the ball would fall short, but Kishan pulled off a blinder running forward.
Aniket Chowdhury, drafted in at the expense of injured Tymal Mills, swatted 15 runs to provide a late blitz, taking RCB to 134.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 134 in 20 overs (Pawan Negi 32, Kedar Jadhav 31; Andrew Tye 3 for 12, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 28) vs Gujarat Lions.