Rajasthan has won by a wide margin! That’s right, you read that correctly. Rajasthan has won by a comfortable margin after defending the lowest total of the season. Bangalore’s batting difficulties continue, as they have now lost two games in a row, while Rajasthan has won their third game in a row and is currently in first place!
The game appeared to be in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s grasp, as Rajasthan Royals’ innings had not produced a single boundary from overs 12 to 18. Then Riyan Parag hit a six over extra cover off a full ball from Josh Hazlewood, and everything changed.
The Royals scored 144 runs in the final two overs, a number that even Mohammed Siraj thought would be difficult to achieve on a two-paced pitch.
Hence so it turned out. RCB were comfortably beaten by a team that rose to the top of the table despite the absence of Jos Buttler and Yuzvendra Chahal.
The Royals’ decision-making at key junctures of this relatively drama-free battle in Pune, as effective as they were with the ball, was the most noteworthy aspect of their win; essentially your bread-and-butter stuff in this T20 era of analysis.
Riyan Parag In a Row
Coming into this game, Parag had 141 runs in 15 innings, averaging 10.85 runs per inning. He had only managed to score 48 runs in his previous five appearances in the crease this season.
His batting stance rarely permits him to hit 31 balls, as he did today. Parag’s selection in the XI was questioned, however, because the Royals are fielding a 6-5 combination with no bowler with a strong power-hitting reputation. Jos Buttler’s recent batting exploits have mostly eclipsed Rajasthan’s weak middle-order performance this season.
As a result, while changes were made for this game, Parag was kept. He not only provided a bowling alternative, but he has also demonstrated his finishing abilities in his still-developing IPL career.
When the 20-year-old was forced to bat in a 68-for-4 situation on a difficult pitch, it all came together for him.
Wanindu Hasaranga gave him a reprieve when he dropped a simple catch, but the rest of his knock demonstrated his immense potential.
In the second half of the innings, he hit all seven of the Royals’ boundaries (4x4s; 3x6s), closing with a 31-ball 56* that effectively turned the game around.
“We put a lot of faith and trust in someone named Riyan Parag,” Sanju Samson said. “We’ve been supporting him for the past three to four years, and he just proved it to the rest of the world today.”
For the first time this season, Ashwin grabbed three wickets, but it was his role as the team’s No. 3 hitter that was the game’s defining moment.
The Royals had tried this strategy once previously, in a run-chase against the Gujarat Titans, but this time they were a little more successful. In a good nine-ball knock of 17, Ashwin struck four boundaries today.
The move may raise some eyebrows, but it makes tactical sense given the circumstances and the Royals’ lineup.
Given the Royals’ lack of lower-order bats, the optimum use of Ashwin the batter is higher up in the order, where he can weave the field with orthodox swings rather than belting the ball at No. 7, which is clearly not his forte.
Kuldeep Sen in a Row
After recovering from an injury at training, the Royals think-tank welcomed tall and stout Kuldeep Sen back into the lineup.
With the addition of Daryl Mitchell, they attempted to bolster the batting order by sacrificing Obed McCoy. Sen’s ability to strike hard lengths and extract bounce on the two-paced wicket was exactly what the Royals needed.
He dismissed Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell in his first over, virtually ending the game. Sen wasn’t finished yet, as his deliveries, which rose awkwardly from a decent length, caused Wanindu Hasaranga and Harshal Patel to tumble, giving Sen’s rapid figures of 4 for 20.
Shahbaz Ahmed in a Row
Rajasthan Royals had lost Buttler and were at 49 for 3 after seven overs when Shahbaz Ahmed came on to bowl his second over.
Faf du Plessis needed more of the same from his left-arm spinner against two right-handers after his first went for only five runs. In contrast, Samson refused to give the all-rounder a soft over and lofted him for two consecutive sixes.
Du Plessis swapped Shahbaz out and brought him back after Samson was ejected. This time, Parag greeted him with a six over long-on, and a few balls later, he blasted another four over the bowler’s head.
Where quick bowlers were proving difficult to hit off a good length, a calculated Royals line-up scored 35 off three Shahbaz overs, despite the fact that the rest of the bowlers on the night surrendered less than 8.5 runs per over.
Chahal In a Row
RCB’s top-order had similarly struggled in the last match, only for Dinesh Karthik to pull off one of his Houdini tricks. Samson had failed to play the legspin matchup card against him right away on that occasion, allowing him to begin his innings. He would not make the same mistake twice.
Karthik remained in the dugout the entire time, and Chahal was not called upon to bowl.
In fact, the Purple Cap holder only came on after the 10th over to bowl. When RCB’s best batter of the season walked out, he had three overs in his kitty. Karthik’s opening ball spun sharply and landed on the leading edge.
Karthik didn’t stay much longer in the struggle after Chahal was defeated. The legspinner did not remove Karthik, but he did play a role in his run-out, which basically sealed the victory.
Edited By: Khushi Thakur
Published By: Mohammed Anees