Rain has final say as RCB crash out

Rain has final say as RCB crash out

ON CLOUD NINE: Rajasthan Royals’ Shreyas Gopal celebrates after bagging a hatrick against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their IPL game at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday. DH Photo/Srikanta Sharma R

After an agonising wait of almost three and half hours -- which saw three heavy spells of rain, two inspections and repair work to the pitch -- the clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals – a five-overs-a-side affair – ended in an anticlimax with just 10 balls left in the match.

Asked to bat first, RCB batsmen imploded as stunningly as they exploded in the first one and half overs to settle for 62 for seven from their five overs. Rajasthan Royals then went about their chase in clinical fashion to bring themselves in a position of strength thanks to Sanju Samson (28, 13b, 2x4, 3x6) and Liam Livingstone (11 n.o.).  With 22 needed off 10 balls, it began to rain again, and umpires abandoned the proceedings.

The no result meant RCB and Royals shared the two points. RCB now have nine points and they are finally out of contention while Royals can still sneak in if they win their final match against Delhi Capitals.    

Not surprisingly, RCB opened their innings with Virat Kohli (25, 7b, 1x4, 3x6) and AB de Villiers, two of the finest strikers of the cricket ball in their ranks. The innings got off to a cracking start with Kohli sending Varun Aaron over the fence off the first two balls. De Villiers then carted him for two fours as the first over yielded 23 runs. It as exactly what the doctor had ordered for RCB. The hosts, however, wouldn’t have bargained for what followed in the next over by their nemesis Shreyas Gopal (3/12 from 1 over).

Appearing prepared for the leg-spinner, who had dismissed him twice before, Kohli slog-swept Shreyas over long on for six before following it up with a crunchy drive to long-off fence for four. He took a couple off the next ball and in an attempt to clear the rope the RCB skipper holed out at long on to Liam Livingstone. It was a déjà vu as de Villiers, who had crossed over, skied Shreyas’ next ball to Riyan Parag at cover. The night got only better for Shreyas and Royals as Marcus Stoinis only managed to spoon a leg-break to Steven Smith at mid-off as the Bengaluru boy celebrated his maiden IPL hat-trick with all gusto even as the stadium fell into a stunned silence.   The score at this stage read 35 for three from two overs. From the next three overs, RCB could only muster 27 runs for the loss of four wickets.          

Royals had won the toss and elected to bowl first but with moments left for RCB innings to begin, it started pouring. The rain and wind were so intense that the covers almost came off the pitch and that’s when probably the water seeped in to leave the pitch damp on one of the edges. When the rain eventually stopped at around 10.00 pm, the outfield was ready in 30 minutes thanks to the sub-air system at the Chinnaswamy but it took extra few minutes to dry up the wet patches.

After the second inspection at 11.05 pm, the start was set at 11.26 pm to ensure a five-overs-a-side match, a minimum requirement to constitute a T20 game.