The two out of form sides Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiant locked horns at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore for the 17th match of the season. The home side seemed to be the favourites to win at home but the visitors surprised everyone and pulled off a rather one-sided victory.
Virat Kohli opted to field first after winning the toss on a pitch hasn’t been the typical Bangalore wicket this season. RPS began well with the top 4 batsmen contributing but the dismissal of MS Dhoni in the 16th over led to a mini collapse but a cameo from Manoj Tiwary enabled a fighting score of 161/8.
The RCB chase didn’t start well as Mandeep Singh departed in the second over followed by Kohli in the sixth. Kedar Jadhav and AB de Villiers were at the crease and the responsibility rested on those two to build a partnership. AB struck a four and two sixes and looked like getting into the groove as RCB’s hopes rested on the presence of the man at the crease.
But it wasn’t a night where an AB special happened.
The turning point
The run-scoring was tough on the surface that was slow and the batsmen found it hard to time the ball. When 10 overs were up, 67 runs were on the board and they needed 95 off the last 10 overs. AB de Villiers and Jadhav were building a decent partnership that was crucial in the chase.
With the South African at the crease, RCB were in safe hands and the stage was set for the devastating batsman to produce one of his typical innings. But his own countryman Imran Tahir playing for the opposition not only got him out but also shattered all the hopes of an RCB victory.
The leg-spinner was into the attack in the 10th over to bowl his third over after having given away only 17 runs in his previous two. On his second ball of the over, the leg-spinner bowled a fuller length delivery a little slower but aimed at the stumps. De Villiers leant forward to play the ball through the leg side but the ball turned away from him just enough to beat the outside edge. AB was into the stroke and left the crease just a bit due to the attempted flick shot.
MS Dhoni collected the ball and whipped off the bails in a flash and the batsman couldn’t trace back even the short distance he had to travel back to the crease. He knew that he was short of the crease but the umpire turned to the TV umpire for a referral.
The replays showed that the South African was short and Dhoni had produced yet another moment of genius with the gloves. The crowd was awestruck by the brilliance from the wicket keeper but soon realised that their big man De Villiers was making the long walk back.
He departed for 29 runs off 30 balls that opened the floodgates for RCB as wickets fell at regular intervals post that incident. Jadhav, Watson and Binny perished in the hunt to score quick runs and the batting line-up collapsed and succumbed to the scoreboard pressure.
How the game panned out
Batting first, RPS had a partnership of 63 runs off 46 balls for the first wicket between Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi with the former playing some gracious strokes. Both departed in quick successions after the powerplay. Steven Smith was in at number three and Dhoni was promoted to bat at number four.
The duo began to stitch a good partnership and Dhoni was looking in a nice touch for the first time this season. He smashed a six off Chahal that landed on the roof over long on and it seemed as if he was in for a big one. But he was dismissed by Watson in the 16th over and three more batsmen departed soon.
RCB had pulled back things and a score of 150 was looking difficult to achieve for RPS. But Manoj Tiwary played a quickfire 27 off 11 that took them to a competitive 161. RCB had a strong batting line-up but at least the RPS bowlers now had something to bowl at.
For RCB, Mandeep Singh went back for a duck while Kohli lasted for 19 deliveries from which he scored 28 runs. AB de Villiers and Kedar Jadhav then went on to construct a decent partnership for the third wicket.
AB’s wicket proved to be decisive for RPS as a flurry of wickets fell after that. Watson and Binny hung in there for a while but a superb bowling performance from the RPS pacers did not let them get close to the target.
Shardul Thakur and Ben Stokes bagged three wickets apiece whilst Jaydev Unadkat scalped two. RCB were restricted to 134/9 as they fell short by 27 runs and dropped down to the bottom of the points table. RPS achieved their second victory of the season and moved to number 6 on the table.