The Royal Challengers Bangalore pulled off an incredible 7-wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals on the back of some heroics from AB de Villiers. They were on the back-foot for the most part, but the genius of that man - RCB’s superman - got them over the line and two more valuable points.
A rejuvenated Robin Uthappa shines
This was RCB’s 4th game in the span of 8 days and they were heading into it on the back of a disappointing defeat against the Kings XI. The Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to bat first. They shuffled things up with their batting order and decided to give Robin Uthappa his favored batting position at the top of the order. Their decision fetched them dividends as Uthappa got them off to a flier.
The first two overs were tidy from RCB. They had, it would seem, learned from their mistakes in the previous game. This time, Kohli wasted no time in bringing on Washington Sundar into the attack during the powerplay.
However, Uthappa was one step ahead. After bowling a quiet first over, Sundar was smashed for four boundaries in his 2nd over and all four of those boundaries came from Uthappa’s blade.
Ben Stokes at the other end, however, was struggling to get going. He was dismissed in the 6th over by Morris and the Royals ended their powerplay at 52 for 1. Uthappa was looking good at the crease and the following over from Saini went for 10.
Kohli then decided to play his trump card and brought Chahal into the attack and as always, he delivered when RCB needed it the most.
Samson welcomed Chahal with a thunderous six off the very first ball of the over, however, just a couple of balls later, Chahal got both Uthappa and Samson in consecutive deliveries. The scoring rate inevitably dropped thereafter and RCB took a firm hold of proceedings.
The middle overs slipped by quietly as Butler and Smith consolidated the innings. Jos Butler was not at his best and he was dismissed for 24 from 25 deliveries in the 16th over. Rahul Tewatia joined his skipper at the crease and RR were 133 for 4 at the end of the 16th. Morris bowled an excellent 17th over that went for only 6 and RR were under the hammer.
A late explosion from RR
They got their chance to explode soon after though. Kohli opted to bowl Chahal for the 18th over and it turned out to be a surprisingly poor over for RCB. He was greeted with a boundary and a couple of no balls from the leggie meant that the over went for 19. The following over from Udana went for 15 and RR were heading towards a decent total.
But their plans were halted as Chris Morris came back and bowled a fantastic 20th over where he gave away just 4 runs and picked 2 more wickets to add to the 2 he’d picked up earlier. Rajasthan ended up with a par-score of 177 for 6. They were on track to get a few more, but Morris’ excellent death bowling kept the RR score modest.
RCB needed their openers to give them a good start, because their scoring rate in the middle overs this season has been rather poor throughout. They weren’t off to the best of starts though as they ended the powerplay on 47 for 1 having lost only the wicket of Aaron Finch.
Middling middle overs for RCB yet again
The run rate slowed down in the middle overs again as they got only two boundaries between overs 7 and 15. While Devdutt Padikkal struggled to find timing, Kohli kept chipping away at the target with his characteristic running between the wickets.
They were setting themselves up for a big finish with Kohli set at the crease and with de Villiers still to come. But they were dealt a massive blow as both Padikkal and Kohli fell in successive deliveries and RR’s man for the hour, Rahul Tewatia, was involved in both dismissals. The first to go was a tired Padikkal who holed out to long-on off of Tewatia’s bowling.
Then, in the very first ball of the next over, Kohli flicked Kartik Tyagi towards the mid-wicket fence where Rahul Tewatia took an absolute screamer to send the RCB skipper on his way.
The ABD show saves RCB
RCB were in trouble at 104 for 3 after 15 overs and they had 2 new batsmen at the crease. They still needed 64 from just 30 deliveries and the asking rate was touching 13. De Villiers kept RCB in the hunt with a couple of sixes in the following three overs, but Rajasthan now had the upper hand with RCB still needing 35 to win from just 2 overs.
It was Jaydev Unadkat to bowl the 19th and it was now or never for RCB. The odds were not in their favor, the asking rate was 17.5 an over and very few teams had won chasing thus far in the tournament. But none of that mattered for the one superhuman who was out there at the crease.
AB de Villiers lined up Unadkat and smashed him for 3 huge sixes off the first 3 balls of the over. RCB got 18 from 3 and the next 3 went for 7 more to make it a total of 25 from the over.
Now it was RCB’s game to lose. They needed just 11 more from the last over, which was going to be bowled by Jofra Archer. 5 came off the first 3 and RCB needed 6 more to win from the last 3 with de Villiers on strike. Fourth ball of the over and bang! Away she went over the mid-wicket fence for 6 more! AB de Villiers finished it off in style as a jubilant RCB celebrated an incredible win.
A successful season so far
Those 2 points mean that RCB are now comfortably nestled at 3rd place on the points table with 12 points to their name. They really are looking like a force to reckon with this season after they’ve pulled off some impressive wins. They might not have bossed this game but they did win it thanks to AB de Villiers’ sheer brilliance.
It was some poor captaincy from Steve Smith as well to bowl Unadkat in 19th over. Things may have turned out very differently had Archer bowled the 19th and Unadkat had maybe 20 or 25 in the bank to defend in the last over.
But it's RCB that walk away with the win. It certainly wasn't the most convincing of victories, but one that they will savour no doubt.Published 18 Oct 2020, 18:30 IST