IPL 2022: Royals extend Bangalore’s wait for first title

Royal Challengers Bangalore were 130 for 4 in 15.2 overs against Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator at Eden Gardens. Rajat Patidar had just mowed Ravi Bishnoi for six. The next ball, Patidar pulled again, straight to deep midwicket, where Deepak Hooda dropped a sitter. Patidar blew LSG away thereafter as he led RCB to 207. In Qualifier 2 at Narendra Modi Stadium against Rajasthan Royals, RCB were 130 for 3 in 15.2 overs, with Patidar in flow again.

He even picked the wide carom ball from Ravichandran Ashwin and bashed it flat to long-off, where Jos Buttler, on the very edge of the boundary, held on to a much harder chance than Hooda had spilled. RR forced open this window of opportunity so firmly they blew RCB out the door; instead of the 77 runs that LSG had leaked after dropping Patidar, RR gave away just 27 in the remainder of the RCB innings. Jos Buttler, equalling Virat Kohli’s season record with his fourth century of IPL 2022, lapped up the chase of 158 on a small outfield like a nice glass of buttermilk after a hearty Gujarati thali.

Prasidh presses pause on RCB

Prasidh Krishna had bowled an outstanding three-over burst in the Powerplay for only 14 runs and the wicket of Kohli. Utilising the liberal carry and some early movement, Krishna had bounced out Kohli and almost removed Patidar for only 13, but Riyan Parag put a slice down at backward point.

Kohli has almost forever gone forward outside off to feel bat on the ball, especially in white-ball cricket. It is a nothing shot in that it is neither intended to bring him runs, nor is he really required to play a defensive some way outside off. At times, he does something similar with the short of a length ball that holds its line or leaves him. He feels it with a half-poke, half-steer, instead of attacking it or leaving it. And that is what consumed him in Krishna’s first over.

Krishna’s last over was held back by Royals until the 19th. When he did return to the attack, he took out RCB’s most potent death-over weapon this season: Dinesh Karthik. The veteran had come in and knocked it around for run-a-ball six, but had two overs to play with. At Wankhede Stadium in the season’s first meeting between these two teams, he needed a single 21-run over from Ashwin to turn the game on its head.

Krishna ran in and rolled his fingers slightly across a pitched-up, wide delivery. Karthik sensed the opportunity to go for a straight six, and ended up hitting it high to long-on. Next ball, he uprooted the stumps of Wanindu Hasaranga with a steaming, angled-in, precise yorker.

On a night on which Yuzvendra Chahal went for 0 for 45, Obed McCoy turned up with his dipping slow full tosses and slow, wide bouncers to prise out three wickets, including that of Faf du Plessis.

Patidar impresses again

Patidar batted in the same mode that had made him the only uncapped player to make a century in the IPL playoffs. He does not hold back at all with his powerful bat-swing, and that total commitment to the stroke is perhaps also what makes the close ones go his way often. Like when he slashed McCoy just out of the reach of short third man, but in the same over, du Plessis found the same fielder, albeit off a fuller length. Or when he took on Krishna’s bounce with a couple of forceful cuts and punches. Again, had Riyan Parag taken the third of those shots, Patidar’s knock would have been cut short in the Powerplay itself.

Another belter from Buttler

A 16-run opening over set the tone for RR as Yashasvi Jaiswal flicked and pulled Mohammed Siraj for boundaries. Buttler soon sent Siraj at least thirty rows into the crowd beyond long leg. He would make this chase look like an ODI pursuit. He gave due respect to Josh Hazlewood, nicely getting across and behind the line of his incutters.

But he wreaked havoc on the weak links in the RCB attack. It didn’t matter on what line or length part-time left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed bowled. Buttler kept hanging back, winding up and carving him over mid-on and into the straight boundary. A small sequence of dots would suddenly be broken with a late twist of the bat and a slap for four a couple of feet past extra cover. Or a calm reaching-out to a full delivery that would go screaming into the sightscreen.

After five overs, RR had catapulted to 61 for 0. The venom had already gone out of Kohli’s throws to the wicketkeeper. And a collective drooping of shoulders on the field so early in the chase was an affirmation of just how thoroughly RCB had been outplayed. Late into the game, as Kohli ran towards the boundary to take up the long-on position, the section of the crowd behind him went ballistic. That was the only solace left in another heartbreak of a campaign for RCB fans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button