The M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore surprisingly saw an average score of 157 being defended by the home team. It was the fifth game of IPL 2017 between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils, which saw the hosts unexpectedly turning the tide with the ball. DD’s batting collapse saw them lose their opening game despite Rishabh Pant’s heroics with the bat.
DD needed 21 runs off the last 12 deliveries when Shane Watson took charge and delivered a magical over to put pressure on a well set Pant in the final over. Watson, who has not been on-song in recent times, delivered a magical over out of the blue and carried RCB over the line. The penultimate over of a T20 game is, at times, even more crucial than the final one, and the home side didn’t have too many options left at the end of 18th over.
Watson had his solitary over left along with Iqbal Abdulla, who had already gone for 36 runs in three overs. Watson decided to put the hard yards and go for the kill in the 19th over. He steamed in and produced four dots at such a crunch situation.
The RCB captain ensured that the rampaging Pant remained off the strike and Amit Mishra faced most of the deliveries. Mishra only managed to score a single from five deliveries he faced from Watson. The Australian all-rounder brought all his experience into this over, bowling back of a length to the tail-ender while going full outside off to Pant.
He bowled to a plan, which eventually paid off. At the end of the 19th over, DD needed 19 runs from 6 deliveries, which gave Watson the liberty to experiment with his final bowler. He threw the ball to Pawan Negi, even though the all-rounder hadn’t bowled a single delivery in the game thus far.
With the pressure being on DD to get at least four boundaries off the last six deliveries, the pressure on Negi was minimal. He got rid of Pant and managed to pick the wicket of Pant as well, RCB defending 157 successfully and registered their first win of the season by 15 runs.
Watson’s over was indubitably the turning point of the game, even though their bowlers kept chipping wickets at regular intervals, but T20 is a format where one incredible innings can change the phase of the game. And Pant was certainly playing that kind of an innings, which could have snatched an implausible victory for DD. The 19-year-old batsman was looking unstoppable and RCB were running out of options to contain them.
Kedar Jadhav continues to impress
Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss and opted to bat first. A lot was expected from opener Chris Gayle at the top in the absence of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers but he once again failed to fire. Shane Watson promoted himself to open the batting and looked in good touch but floundered after a good start. Mandeep Singh smashed three boundaries but Pat Cummins ended his show with a beauty.
Kedar Jadhav once again came to RCB’s rescue and played a gem of an innings. Jadhav not only negotiated DD’s bowling attack but also scored runs at a brisk pace. He belted as many as five sixes and an equal number of boundaries for his 69 off 37 deliveries.
Jadhav is slowly developing into one of RCB’s pillars and will form a formidable batting line-up once Kohli and de Villiers join in. Riding on his pristine form, RCB somehow managed to post a competitive total of 157 on the board. Chris Morris was the pick of the DD bowler with three wickets in his basket for 21.
RCB bowlers timely strikes
DD had the batting to gun down such a target against the not-so-inspiring RCB bowling. They got off to a good start with Sam Billings looking comfortable in the middle. Tymal Mills bagged the wicket of Aditya Tare and drew first blood. The Bangalore bowlers picked wickets at regular intervals and didn’t let the momentum drift away. Pant stood tall amid the storm and played with unmatched confidence.
Yuzvendra Chahal bowled magnificently to concede just 19 runs and scalp a wicket off his 4 overs. Billy Stanlake and Iqbal Abdulla chipped in with two wickets apiece. The match went down to the death overs where Watson bowled the 19th over and gave away 11 runs, while Pawan Negi picked two wickets in the final over to carry the team over the line. RCB will be elated with the win as they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
It may be tough times for RCB without the services of their key players but it’s a golden opportunity for others to prove themselves.