In a face-off between two struggling teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) played host to the Gujarat Lions on Thursday. Suresh Raina won the toss and did not veer away from the prevailing trend of chasing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
When confronted by a tricky pitch, RCB’s power packed top-order flattered to deceive once again. Even though the lower-order batsmen attempted to resuscitate the innings and give their bowlers something to defend, the hosts could only limp towards a measly total of 134.
Let us take a close look at who did what in the engrossing contest at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Samuel Badree – 8
The seasoned campaigner gave a fighting chance for RCB by pricing out both openers in the space of just 10 deliveries. His tight stump-to-stump line briefly raised the hopes of the buoyant crowd. But, his spell did not end well as Aaron Finch dispatched him into the stands on consecutive occasions.
Sreenath Aravind – 8
Conceding just 19 runs from three overs, Aravind was among the bright spots for RCB in an otherwise forgettable encounter. Possessing quite a few variations up his sleeve, the left-armer tried his best to keep the batsmen in check.
Pawan Negi – 7.5
A surprise package in the lower-order, Negi ended up as RCB's top run-scorer in this match. With 32 off just 19 balls, the left-hander threatened to come in the way of the visitors’ progress. He was going strong until a well-flighted googly resulted in his downfall. Apart from picking up Finch towards the end of the chase, his bowling did not have any impact.
Kedar Jadhav – 7.5
Coming into bat at 22/3, Jadhav took the wind out of Gujarat’s sails by launching an audacious counter-attack. The diminutive right-hander smashed four boundaries and a maximum in his 18-ball 31. While looking to cut a stifling delivery from Ravindra Jadeja, his stunning cameo came to an end.
Aniket Choudhary – 6
Showing his usefulness with the bat, Choudhary contributed 15 runs from 12 balls to add a semblance of respectability to the total. However, in his primary department, the left-arm pacer failed to impress.
Yuzvendra Chahal – 5
For any leg-spinner, defending a small target is never an easy task. Chahal could have provided a major breakthrough for his team. Alas, he failed to keep his front foot behind the line. His three overs came at the cost of 29 runs.
Virat Kohli – 4
The skipper made his intentions pretty clear by flicking one nonchalantly over the square leg fielder for a breathtaking six. However, Kohli sent the Chinnaswamy crowd into a state of disappointment when he paid the price for an error in judgment.
Mandeep Singh – 3.5
A top-order batsman by trade, Mandeep has had to bat lower down the order due to RCB’s top-heavy batting lineup. Even though he batted for 14 deliveries, he could not score fluently. His misery was ended when a poor shot found the safe hands of Jadeja.
Chris Gayle – 3.5
As he so often does, Gayle began rather cautiously. An inaccurate delivery within his reach allowed him score his first boundary. When it seemed like he was getting himself in, the opener perished to a probing ball from Andrew Tye.
AB de Villiers – 2.5
Struggling to time the ball on a bowler-friendly surface, AB de Villiers made matters worse for Royal Challengers by throwing his wicket away through an indecisive piece of running between the wickets.
Travis Head – 1
With Gujarat’s bowlers seizing the momentum, Head could not handle the pressure and departed for a first-ball duck.
Andrew Tye – 9.5
Tye paved the way for a clinical Gujarat victory by sparking a decisive collapse in RCB’s batting lineup. His line and length were impeccable on a pitch which provided copious assistance to his style of bowling. For his spell of 3/12 from four overs, he was named the Player of the Match.
Aaron Finch – 9
The powerfully built right-hander from Australia ensured that the Lions reached the target without any hassle. Equally dominant against both pace and spin, Finch produced a remarkable 34-ball 72 to help his team ace the chase.
Ravindra Jadeja – 9
Apart from picking up two wickets from his four overs, Jadeja also effected the vital run-out of de Villiers. His relentless control in the middle-overs went a long way in helping Gujarat maintain their stranglehold on the home team.
Suresh Raina – 8
Even as Finch was motoring towards the target in a ruthless manner, Raina did the smart thing by feeding him the strike and offering solid support from the other end. He capped off a satisfying night by usurping the Orange Cap from Gautam Gambhir.
Ankit Soni – 8
Having signed by the franchise as a replacement for the injured chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik, Soni got an opportunity straight away. The leg-spinner repaid the faith shown by the team management with the timely scalp of a well-set Negi.
James Faulkner – 8
By the time Faulkner came on to bowl, the Royal Challengers were tottering at 77/5. The left-arm seamer delivered three tight overs and enabled Gujarat to sustain the pressure in the closing stages of the innings.
Basil Thampi – 7.5
Even though Basil operated at an economy rate of 8.50, he procured the most valuable wicket of the game. After being carted for a glorious six by Kohli, he kept his nerve and removed the RCB captain in his second over.
Nathu Singh – 7
The right-arm seamer was given only a couple of overs by his skipper. He did an adequate job by giving away just eight runs.
Ishan Kishan – 5
The 18-year old got Gujarat’s chase up and running by unleashing an array of boundaries against Badree. But, the wrist-spinner soon outsmarted the opener by trapping him in front with the straighter one.
Brendon McCullum – 2
Such small targets are usually McCullum’s forte as they allow him to dominate from the outset. This time around, his boldness got the better of him. Without getting to the pitch of the ball, he danced down the track and sent one straight into long-on’s throat.
Dinesh Karthik – N/A
Apart from having a safe game behind the stumps, Karthik did not have much to do. With the batsmen above him finishing the task, he was not needed to bat.