The Royal Challengers Bangalore's wait for an IPL title will go on for another year. Virat Kohli waged a lone war as batsmen crumbled around him and the Rising Pune Supergiant handed the Royal Challengers Bangalore a seventh defeat in ten matches, which ends any chance of making it to the playoffs this season.
RPS are very much alive, however, after picking up their fifth win of IPL 2017 in their ninth match, with a solid all-round effort getting them the W they needed in Pune.
Put into bat, RPS scratched their way to 157, which seemed like a score RCB would cruise to. However, with team scores of 49 all out and 134 all out in their last couple of games, the confidence just wasn't there, and with Kohli watching on in horror as one wicket after another fell at the other end, RCB succumbed to yet another forgettable defeat.
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After deciding to drop Chris Gayle again, there was a lot of pressure on Kohli and Travis Head to get a partnership going and set the chase up for RCB, but it was not to be.
Head (2, 5b) failed to make proper contact with a back of a length delivery, the ball took a tiny inside edge and hit the woodwork to send Jaydev Unadkat into celebration mode.
The celebrations continued for the RPS bowlers as the danger man AB De Villiers (3, 8b) fell to the fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, driving one straight to Manoj Tiwary at short cover.
If Kohli and Kedar Jadhav (7, 12b, 1x4) were going to put on a partnership to save RCB's neck, it was not to be as an awful piece of miscommunication meant the latter was run out.
Nobody's really stepped up for RCB when the big men have got out, so it was no surprise when Sachin Baby (2, 4b), Stuart Binny (1, 7b) and Pawan Negi (3, 7b) also fell in relatively quick succession, leaving the Royal Challengers Bangalore on 61/6, needing 97 runs from 44 balls.
Now, Kohli is as great a chaser as they come – probably the greatest of all time – but there is nothing he can do if the batsmen at the other end keep throwing their wickets away.
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And as those wickets continued to fall, all Kohli (55, 48b, 4x4, 1x6) could do was look on in horror and contemplate moving on from another horrible defeat.
The Rising Pune Supergiant batting innings was more about what might have been, rather than what was, with the home side unable to quite go through the gears to really find lift-off, even if they got to a decent enough score.
Ajinkya Rahane (6, 8b) was picked up early in the game by the RCB spinner Samuel Badree, who saw a full toss take a top edge and go straight to Adam Milne at short fine-leg, a ball after Kohli had dropped a dolly off Milne's bowling, which would have seen Rahul Tripathi walking back as well.
Thanks to that life, Tripathi went on to make a sixth consecutive 30 in IPL 2017, which is remarkable considering very few knew who he was before the start of the tournament.
Tripathi (37, 28b, 4x4, 1x6) and Steve Smith put on 40 runs in a shade over five overs to give the innings just that bit of momentum, and while the RPS captain struggled a little at the start of his innings, Tripathi's fairly quick one gave him the time to settle and gauge the pace of the pitch.
Another partnership of 50 from 5.3 overs followed, with Smith (45, 32b, 5x4, 1x6) in much better flow in this one alongside Manoj Tiwary, and with Tiwary (45 n.o., 35b, 4x4, 1x6) and MS Dhoni (21 n.o., 17b, 1x4, 1x6) putting on 49 runs after that, the RPS innings got near that 160-mark.
RCB would have been confident of chasing that target down, after their bowlers did decent work, but the collapse was on, so was another what-on-earth-happened-here defeat.
RPS vs RCB scorecard:
Toss: RCB, who chose to bowl.
RPS: 157/3 in 20 overs.
RCB: 96/9 in 20 overs.
Result: RPS won by 61 runs.
Bowling: RCB: Adam Milne 4-0-35-0; Samuel Badree 4-0-31-1; S Aravind 4-0-30-0; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-0-25-0; Pawan Negi 4-0-18-1; Stuart Binny 2-0-17-1.
RPS: Deepak Chahar 2-0-18-0; Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-19-1; Lockie Ferguson 4-1-7-2; Dan Christian 4-0-25-1; Imran Tahir 4-0-18-3; Washington Sundar 2-0-7-1.
Fall of wickets: RPS: 18/1, Ajinkya Rahane (3.1 overs); 58/2, Rahul Tripathi (8.2 overs); 108/3, Steve Smith (13.5 overs).
RCB: 11/1, Travis Head (2 overs); 32/2, AB De Villiers (4.4 overs); 44/3, Kedar Jadhav (7.4 overs); 47/4, Sachin Baby (8.4 overs); 48/5, Stuart Binny (9.5 overs); 61/6, Pawan Negi (12.4 overs); 71/7, Adam Milne (15 overs); 82/8, Samuel Badree (16.5 overs); 84/9, Virat Kohli (17.5 overs).
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