RCB rout Royals for 59 to keep playoff hopes alive

RCB rout Royals for 59 to keep playoff hopes alive

Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 5 (Du Plessis 55, Maxwell 54, Zampa 2-25) beat Rajasthan Royals 59 (Hetmyer, Parnell 3-10, Bracewell 2-16, Karn 2-19) by 112 runs

With their campaign on the line in Jaipur, Royal Challengers Bangalore ambushed Rajasthan Royals, smashing them by 112 runs to stay in the race for the playoffs. It was their largest margin of victory away from home and it did wonders for their net run rate: RCB are now in fifth place with 12 points and two games to go.

Glenn Maxwell blasted a 30-ball half-century on a tough pitch, while Faf du Plessis and Anuj Rawat played contrasting support acts. Yet the biggest contributor to RCB’s win was their bowling, and the five wickets they took in the powerplay set up the Royals’ decimation for 59 – the third lowest total in the IPL.

Wayne Parnell was in top form, picking up three of those wickets: Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Joe Root. He wouldn’t have played had Josh Hazlewood been fit, and his spell of 3-0-10-3 won him the Player of the Match award.

While RCB can get to 16 points, the Royals can now only reach 14 if they win their final game, and their playoff hopes are extremely slim.

RCB’s steady powerplay

Royals trusted their match-ups in the powerplay.

Kohli v legspin: strike rate of 110. So it wasn’t a surprise to see three overs in the powerplay bowled by Adam Zampa and Yuzvendra Chahal.

RCB hit only four boundaries in the first six overs, but Faf du Plessis and Kohli ensured they didn’t lose a wicket on a tricky pitch, scoring 42. Kohli was eventually caught off a knuckleball from KM Asif, for 18 off 19 balls.

Du Plessis drops anchor; Maxwell flies

Maxwell walked in at No. 3 and thumped his third ball, off R Ashwin, for a near 100-metre hit down the ground. In the next over, Chahal tried to bowl away from his hitting arc as Maxwell tried to outfox him by employing the reverse sweep. After two failed attempts, Chahal perhaps played on Maxwell’s ego by dangling the carrot for a third. Maxwell used the depth of his crease to slap a fierce cut to the boundary. This injection of momentum allowed du Plessis to drop anchor.

After a lull – RCB didn’t score a boundary from overs 9.2 to 12.3 – Maxwell tore into Sandeep. The first of two boundaries was a reverse ramp over the wicketkeeper and the second was slashed over point. Maxwell then raised the tempo further by blasting Chahal into the stands to bring up a 30-ball half-century. And when Chahal went wide, Maxwell went wider to shovel one over the shorter leg-side boundary. The platform had been set.

RCB stumble after du Plessis falls

RCB lost three wickets in six deliveries beginning with du Plessis in the 15th over, with Zampa taking out Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik in the same over. That meant that Maxwell had to delay the charge at the death, and when he eventually went after Sandeep, he was bowled trying to reverse sweep a yorker. At 137 for 5 in the 18th over, RCB were in danger of finishing poorly.

Rawat comes to RCB’s rescue

Anuj Rawat gave RCB the finishing kick in the final over by taking down KM Asif. Standing deep inside the crease to convert yorkers into half-volleys, he muscled two sixes and a four to end with 29 off 11 balls. RCB finished with 171, which was above par on a tough batting surface.

Parnell’s powerplay punch

Fastest IPL fifty two nights ago. Two-ball duck today. Yashasvi Jaiswal drilled Mohammed Siraj to Kohli at mid-off to trigger a stunning collapse. Parnell was playing his first game since April 20 and he made the most of it, dismissing Buttler, Samson and Root inside the powerplay. Buttler was also out for a duck, slapping one straight to point; Samson was cramped for room and top-edged a pull; and Root was lbw playing all around a full delivery.

Bracewell, Karn complete the rout

A niggle to Wanindu Hasaranga meant Karn Sharma got a game, but he was taken for three back-to-back sixes by Shimron Hetmyer. Ashwin was then run out by a nifty flick between the legs from the wicketkeeper Rawat, and Hetmyer holed out to long on for 35 off 19 balls. Bracewell returned to pick up his second wicket – Dhruv Jurel – and Karn made a strong comeback by taking the final two wickets to close out the game in the 11th over of the chase.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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