Royal Challengers Bangalore 3 for 179 (de Villiers 55 *, Kohli 43, Pedical 35) Rajasthan Royals 177 for 7 (Smith 57, Uthappa 41, Morris 4-26, Chahal 2-34)
Having AB de Villiers in your line-up is like having a cheat code in a videogame. Take him away, and Royal Challengers Bangalore were second best for Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, with all of his other batsmen struggling to find the boundary on a slow pitch, chasing 178. What the royals couldn’t do.
De Villiers arrived with the Royal Challengers needing 42 to 76, becoming Virat Kohli 76 out of 41. Gurkirat Singh would be on strike for 17 of those 41 balls, and scored just 19 runs.
But even with all these layers of difficulty added to his task, de Villiers eliminated it, and made it easy, with just a little help from the Royals’ tactics. With equations coming down from 12 to 35, he left his best bowler Joffra Archer for the 20th over, instead of using it in the 19th as most teams did.
De Villiers dismissed Jaydev Unadkat for 6, 6, 6 off the first three balls of that 19th over and the game was too much in the bag. He scored an unbeaten 55 with the help of 22 sixes, including six sixes – more than one Royals were successful throughout his innings – and the Royal Challengers won with two balls to spare.
Uthappa turns the clock
Robin Uthappa has always been at his best as a top-order batsman. Prior to today, he had an average of 29.81 and a strike rate of 133.47 in 121 IPL innings in the top three, compared to 24.45 and 119.68 in 55 innings. And yet, he stopped the sequence in all of his matches this season, until the Royals once again reshuffled their line-up. Having already tried four opening combinations this season, he now went to Uthappa in his favorite position, along with Ben Stokes.
After struggling to flow throughout the season, Uthappa found it, making full use of the Powerplay field restrictions. He used the crease brilliantly to pick up all fours in the third over of the match – a drive past mid-off and three sweeps and a swipe at backward square leg – when Washington Sundar tallied as two of their boundary fielders Till and bowled with deep midwicket. . In the next over, he hit the medium-fast Isuru Udana for a four and another favorite at mid-on – and the Royals got up and running.
Stokes was not quite fluent, and he fell in the last over of the powerplay from Chris Morris’ slow bouncer. Uthappa was still going strong, though Navdeep Saini was hit for a four in the seventh over, and when Sanju Samson greeted Yuzvendra Chahal with a six over midwicket – who made 68 for 1 in 8.1 overs. The passengers may wonder how they were increasing the scoring rate.
The answer was right in front of them. Since the start of the 2018 season, there have been 12 occasions before today in which Chahal took one wicket in an over where at least one six was also hit. No other spinner had come close – Sunil Narayan and Shreyas Gopal were six times away from each other jointly.
Chahal usually challenges batsmen to hit sixes in a row, and he did the same again today, dismissing both Uthappa and Samson in the same over, relying on his flight, a wider line, and a longer boundary in Dubai. . Samson’s wicket seemed like a poor choice of shot, but it also featured a bit of deception, which led to the pull of the ball striker due to the delay and sluggish delivery, and the ball was long Compared to extra cover rather than hit.
Smith, Teotia help set challenging goals
Jose Butler got the boundary once in the next two overs, but Chahal, Sundar and Navdeep Saini gave away just 12 runs from 14. 14 to 17 in the over. The Royals needed someone to restore their slow pace, and Steven Smith promoted them. Needed, his movement around the crease and Issura Udana’s fours and sixes using the drabness of his hands and another four after Butler was dismissed. He scored two runs off the ball of Chahal in the 18th over.
Udana bowled a costly 19th bowler – Rahut Tewatia, who looked to be batting against the left-handed seam, stuck with him – and Morris posted a tight 20th, 177 for 6.
Borders dry up
During most of their chase, the Royal Challengers just got stuck. A feature of his innings was his inability to hit fours – he only hit five in all, compared to the Royals’ 17 – and the reason was his top-order reluctance or inability to play sweeps, which is such an important weapon on slow pitches. . While the Royals – for whom Uthappa and Smith played exclusively shots – scored 25 against spinners in 11 balls with the traditional, reverse, paddle and slog-sweep, the Royal Challengers scored three runs off just two balls.
Devdutt Padikkal struggled with only two fours scoring 35 runs off 37 balls, while Kohli struggled fluently but scored a pair of sixes to make 43 for 32 runs. By the time De Villiers came to the crease, the Royal Challengers had climbed at the required rate. 8.9 to chase them at 10.9 on 13-over points.
De Villiers handles
The arrival of de Villiers did not immediately change the game. The Royal Challengers did not hit a four off their first 15 balls at the crease, partly because Gurkeerat was on strike for six of them, and partly Karthik Tyagi, Shreyas Gopal – who de Villiers four times in five meetings before today Was out. – And Archer was not easy to get away.
Archer then bowled a rare short ball that did not reach uncomfortable heights and de Villiers hit a six over the square leg boundary. Floodgate did not open completely, even handling Unadkat and Tyagi to put Gurkeerat on strike from seven balls in the 17th and 18th overs.
This required Royal Challengers to score 35 runs. 12. Teams are now using their best death bowler in the 19th over as a total defender, with the idea that they will make the equation even more difficult for the chasing team until the final over starts. By that logic, Archer should have bowled, but Smith, the Royals captain, went with Unadkat, saying that his slower balls would be harder to muscle in the leg side with longer range in that direction.
It could work for another day and against any other batsman, but de Villiers, who is better set at the crease on a slower ball than anyone else on the planet, went 6, 6, 6 over the long range each time – off. First three balls of Unadkat’s over. Another six over midwicket, Archer, in the final over, completed the work and pushed De Villiers to fifty for the fourth time in the season.