Coming into this game, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had a slim chance of making into the play-offs. With another shambolic display, their campaign now appears to be all but over. On a not so tough track, they limped to a measly score of 96 for the loss of nine wickets and suffered a 61-run hammering at the hands of a confident Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) side.
Following the dominant triumph, Steven Smith’s team have shored up their position in the top-four. Let us take a close look at who did what in the entertaining contest at the MCA Stadium in Pune. All ratings are calibrated on a scale of ten.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Lockie Ferguson – 9.5
Yet another fast bowler from New Zealand’s enviable stable, Ferguson conceded only seven runs and produced the joint-second most economical four-over spell in IPL history. Add those two wickets including the big one of AB de Villiers and his performance was simply scintillating. In the coming games, RPS certainly cannot keep him out of action after such an execution.
Imran Tahir – 9
Upon bowling well below his potential in Pune’s previous match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), there were a few question marks on Imran Tahir’s form. However, the highly rated leg-spinner returned to his best and showed what he is capable of by picking up three wickets for just 18 runs.
Steven Smith – 9
Supergiant’s skipper continued his impressive spate of performances at this venue. Smith led from the front with an enterprising knock of 45 which came at a strike-rate of 140.62. He smashed five fours and a crisply timed six before an error in judgment ended his stay at the crease. His captaincy was top-notch and the sensational catch to send back Sachin Baby capped off a fine day in the field.
Jaydev Unadkat – 8.5
Bowling quicker than normal, the left-arm seamer looked quite threatening against RCB’s batting lineup. Unadkat’s four overs came at the mere cost of 19 runs. The delivery to dismiss Travis Head was as good as any he has bowled in his career thus far.
Manoj Tiwary – 8
Having carved a niche for himself in the middle-order, Tiwary found a way to make another sizeable contribution to Pune’s total. Never easy for a technically adroit batsman like him to bat in the death overs, he still came up with an unbeaten 44.
Rahul Tripathi – 7.5
With a 28-ball 37, Tripathi became the first batsman in this season to register six consecutive 30-plus scores. The opener had his fair share of luck as Virat Kohli of all fielders dropped a straightforward chance when he was batting on 11. However, he capitalized on the reprieve for a reasonable amount of time.
Daniel Christian – 7.5
Since the top five played out the full quota of 20 overs, the hard-hitting all-rounder did not get a chance to bat. He sustained Pune’s intensity with the ball and delivered the final nail in RCB’s coffin by getting rid of the opposition captain.
MS Dhoni – 7
Since the previous away clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the seasoned campaigner has looked a completely different batsman. Even though he remained not out on 21 in this game, Dhoni had the opportunity to face as many as 17 deliveries. From someone of his reputation and experience, the team management may want a bit more fluency as the season approaches a critical stage.
Washington Sundar – 6
From a couple of overs, the 17-year-old off-spinner from Tamil Nadu prised out a wicket and gave away only seven runs. It suffices to say that we will be seeing a lot more of him as this IPL edition moves along.
Deepak Chahar – 5.5
With the other bowlers doing an amazing job, Chahar was able to get only two overs. Even as the opposition batsmen lost their way, the right-arm seamer could not make a mark in his brief spell.
Ajinkya Rahane – 3
Usually a consistent accumulator of runs at the top of the order, Rahane managed only an 8-ball 6 this time around. A misguided attempt at a sweep shot ended with him top-edging a full toss.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Pawan Negi – 8.5
The 24-year-old all-rounder has been one of the bright spots of RCB’s dismal campaign thus far. The left-arm spinner sent down a complete spell of four overs and gave away only 18 runs while picking up the wicket of Tripathi. His control during the first half of the innings went a long way in applying a decent amount of pressure on RPS. But he fell without making any impact in the batting department.
Virat Kohli – 7.5
Although he scored his third half-century of this season, Kohli was not at his belligerent best. Instead, the Royal Challengers captain struggled under the gravity of the situation. Watching the other batsmen collapse like a pack of cards, his knock only managed to lend some face-saving runs to the team total.
Samuel Badree – 7.5
In this game, Badree was not summoned to deliver the first over of the innings. Even though he began impressively with a tidy effort in the Power Play, the wrist-spinner was taken to the cleaners by Smith later in the innings. He finished on a positive note by parting with just four runs in his last over.
Sreenath Aravind – 7.5
Considering the fact that he bowled in the Power Play as well as during the end overs, Aravind did an adequate job. His clever usage of slower deliveries and cutters helped prevent the Supergiant batsmen from completely breaking the shackles.
Adam Milne – 6.5
The express Kiwi pacer could have had an early wicket if not for Kohli’s mistake on the field. Realising that the surface demanded a different approach from those of his ilk, he swallowed the inherent pride of a fast bowler and looked to take the pace off the ball.
Stuart Binny – 4.5
Binny got an opportunity to make a comeback into the team. Despite copping a couple of blows from Smith, the seamer showed enough resolve to induce a mistimed shot from the batsman and gave his side a timely wicket. With the bat, he was abysmal, to say the least.
Yuzvendra Chahal – 3
Coming under the firing line on a surface which did not quite suit his style of bowling, the talented leg-spinner had a forgettable outing. He bowled only two overs and still conceded 25 runs.
Kedar Jadhav – 3
RCB’s tryst with calamitous run-outs did not abate as key man Jadhav paid the price for some poor running between the wickets. As the old adage goes, ‘never run on a misfield‘. Even though this was a missed gather from the bowler, lack of communication as well as ball watching resulted in his unfortunate dismissal.
Sachin Baby – 3
Replacing the faltering Mandeep Singh, Sachin Baby returned to RCB’s playing eleven for this match. When the left-hander flicked a delivery like he normally would, little did he know of Smith who was lurking nearby. Pune’s skipper proceeded to complete one of the most difficult catches of the season.
AB de Villiers – 2.5
This season is turning out to be a massive disappointment for the South African star. It was yet another case of a soft dismissal for de Villiers. Despite transferring his weight clinically and unleashing a booming drive, he could only find the cover fielder’s hands.
Travis Head – 2.5
After getting dismissed for a first-ball duck in the previous game, Head perished for a couple of runs this time around. To a delivery which came into him, he resorted to the erroneous option of a heave and duly saw the ball dislodge the bails.