After losing 4 wickets almost within the first half of their innings, and with a middle order lacking in international experience, Rajasthan Royals (RR) would have felt lucky that their youngsters could get them to 154.
That it would look too easy for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) would not have been anticipated by the team. Poor ground-fielding gaffes and misjudged catches only added insult to injury for RR, who suffered their second loss in a row in the IPL.
There was some amount of entertainment in the RR innings too. The now-famous Rahul Tewatia struck three sixes to once again remind us about his ability with the bat. Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer were aggressive, hitting a six apiece, while Mahipal Lomror top-scored with 47.
Once again, Washington Sundar was hard to put away for runs - although the undisputed star with the ball for RCB was the familiar Yuzvendra Chahal with a three-for.
With the bat, RCB looked assured, with Devdutt Padikkal's dream IPL debut season getting better with another confident fifty. The biggest positive for RCB going forward was Virat Kohli finding his touch again. While the captain started slow, he picked up the tempo, showing glimpses of the quality player he is and shedding his poor run of form leading up to this game.
Several players missed out in the game. In a game marked by some standout performances, there was a long list of players who potentially made the cut for the top three underperformers. Here are three of them.
#3 Tom Curran (RR)
Touted to bowl well at the death with a mix of searing yorkers and clever slower ones, Curran was expected to be a great addition to RR's playing XI, having earlier played in the IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
In this game, Curran was not allowed to settle into any rhythm. Bowling the final over of the powerplay, Curran was hit for 11 runs. After going for 9 off his next - including a four that should have been stopped inside the circle - Curran was asked to bowl the crucial 18th over to try and stymie the RCB batsmen.
Instead, he conceded 16 runs. He bowled the final ball of the game - the first ball of the final over - and was hit for four runs to finish with 3.1-0-40.0.
#2 Aaron Finch (RCB)
Aaron Finch is one of the franchise-trotters of the IPL, having played for as many as 8 teams over the years. At RCB, he has another opportunity to make amends for his middling IPL record, by middling a few balls at the top of the order. As of now, however, he is being overshadowed by his opening partner, Devdutt Padikkal.
Today, his struggles against leg-spinners continued. While he was initially successful against Shreyas Gopal, he was flummoxed by a googly that caught him dead in front of the stumps. His wicket was the only oasis for RR in a very long while, and had Padikkal not played with the elegance he displayed, RCB may have been in yet another spot.
#1 Steve Smith (RR)
Steve Smith, the foremost figure in the RR setup for several years now, has found a new calling as an opener. However, after two fine innings with the bat in the first two games, alongside Sanju Samson's heroics in both games, Smith's form has tapered. For the second game in a row, Smith was unable to make a big score for RR at the top.
Having received a hit-me ball from RCB bowler Isuru Udana, Smith's eyes lit up as he looked to cut it. However, the ball gripped the pitch a touch, and that was enough to ensure that it took the edge to ricochet back onto the stumps. His dismissal triggered a mini-collapse for RR, as they lost their three best batsmen within 4 runs, handing RCB the reins for the game on a platter.
Published 03 Oct 2020, 21:34 IST