Challengers Bangalored

Rajasthan Royals (RR) players Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi celebrate victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) during the Indian Premier League (IPL T20 2019) cricket match at Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur. PTI photo

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s horror run continued in Indian Premier League as they slumped to a seven-wicket defeat against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh stadium here on Tuesday.

It was RCB’s fourth successive loss while Royals bagged their first points of the season.

Put in, RCB’s batting was wrecked by the wily Shreyas Gopal (4-0-12-3) who used googlies to a tormenting effect.

The visitors lost captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in space of two overs before being uplifted by Parthiv Patel’s 67 and Marcus Stoinis’s unbeaten 31. RCB finished at 158/4 in 20 overs but Royals completed the chase with a ball to spare.

The hosts had luck with them too. Rahane was dropped at the slip by a diving Kohli, captaining in his 100th IPL match. With Jos Buttler in devastating form, the two raised quick 60 runs before Rahane was undone by Yuzvendra Chahal, the googly hitting his pads. Steven Smith walked in at the preferred No.3 slot and got behind the chase with Buttler showing the way.

Buttler raised his 50 with a powerful straight drive off Moeen Ali in the 11 over but fell to Chahal in the next.

Smith and Rahul Tripathi, however, kept them in the hunt. To make matters worse, Smith was dropped by Umesh Yadav off Chahal in the 16th over and Tripathi by Ali in the 19th.

When Smith departed, Royals needed five from the last over. They did it comfortably with Tripathi hitting the winning run.

RCB began on a positive note. Kohli, returning to open the innings with Parthiv Patel, made a cautious start with Royals’ beginning with off-spinner K Gowtham who made an impact with his tight lengths. However, it was Shreyas who put RCB in a limbo.

Introduced in the seventh over, the Karnataka leg-spinner shattered the stumps of Kohli with a terrific wrong on. Tossed up and a tad slower, it pitched wide of the off-stump and cut back sharply. Kohli, who has a poor strike rate against googly, misread the delivery. He moved forward to play through the cover but the ball snuck in between his bat and pad to hit the stumps. It sparked a run of unbridled joy from Shreyas; his faced cupped in disbelief.

De Villiers, too, couldn’t decode Shreyas. It was another googly that accounted for him. The ball spun and stopped a bit as De Villiers ended up giving an easy catch to Shreyas. Shimron Hetmeyer, coming at No.4, was also sent back by Shreyas and RCB found themselves in familiar misery. In between, it was Parthiv who kept the board ticking with his attacking strokeplay.

As Parthiv brought up his half-century in the 14th over, RCB crossed the 100-run mark. He shared 53 runs for the fourth wicket with Stoinis, but couldn’t’ carry his bat through. He was out in the 18th over but a late blitz from Stoinis and Ali took RCB to a decent total, but it proved to be too little and too late.

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