Royal Challengers Bangalore looked starkly hung-over from that 49 all-out at the Eden Gardens the other night, stuttering at 60 for 5 inside 10 overs today (April 27) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, to eventually be bowled out in successive matches for the first time in the Indian Premier League. Gujarat Lions rode on Aaron Finch’s belligerent 72 off 34 to maul the target down with 37 balls to spare, and as a result jumped up to the sixth position on the points table, shoving RCB down to seventh.
Kohli – 0; Rookie Indian pacers – 1Nathu Singh and Basil Thampi more than reimbursed their captain’s faith, unleashing themselves at over 140kph in their dreamily disciplined opening spells to keep Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle wanting for more. RCB had managed just a boundary and a six – Kohli’s magnificent bottom-handed whip in reply to a short, sharp ball – until Kohli succumbed to Thampi’s brilliant three-card trick in the fourth over.
3.3 Thampi to Kohli: a straight short ball, Kohli is hurried into a pull and splices it away to mid-on as a late adjustment. 2 runs3.4 Thampi to Kohli: a slower dipping full toss that has the batsman completely deceived. Kohli drives way too early and ends up trimming the ball off the inside edge to mid-wicket. Dot ball3.5 Thampi to Kohli: a short ball on leg-stump, Kohli connects the pull – the first time he’s looked convincing against Thampi’s short ball – but finds Finch at short fine leg. Straight to the fielder.Kohli outPowerplays end in a Tye, almostAs if Kohli’s wicket wasn’t enough dampening, Andrew Tye feasted on a diffident batting line-up, picking Gayle and Travis Head off consecutive balls in the fifth over of the innings to inject panic in RCB’s dressing room. Both the batsmen succumbed behind the wicket, edging cross-seam deliveries that landed on the seam to bounce extra. If Gayle’s catch was a simple take by the keeper Dinesh Karthik, Head’s can be partially put down to Suresh Raina’s brilliance: first in having a slip, and then in taking a stunner there, having had a fraction of a second to react. As a result, RCB found themselves reeling at 35 for 3 at the end of six overs, clueless about setting a target under the self-inflicted constraint to survive as Tye built figures of 3 for 12 in a match-winning performance.
As most one-sided encounters pan out, Gujarat Lions didn’t quite blaze away in the powerplay as the winning margin might suggest. Brendon McCullum walked out with a new opening partner in 18-year-old Ishan Kishan, who fell in Samuel Badree’s second over after belting him for two boundaries in his first. And when Brendon McCullum holed out in the deep, giving Badree His second wicket in the fifth over of the innings, the match looked quite in a balance, for once, at 23 for 2.
Aaron delivers while AB flinches in anarchyIt was easy to liken AB de Villiers’ responsibility with Aaron Finch tonight, given both the batsman walked out inside the powerplay to arrest a potential stutter. Finch blitzed away to a fifty off 22 balls, the fastest for a Gujarat Lions player, while de Villiers fell prey to a horrendously judged single by Mandeep Singh, who blocked the ball to Ravindra Jadeja of all people at backward point and hoaxed de Villiers into a single that shouldn’t have been.
Jadhav and Negi’s cameo not enoughWhatever RCB seemed to have put on the board was accountable to two batsmen: Kedar Jadhav (31 off 18) and Pawan Negi (32 off 19) later. And had Jadhav not tried to be too cheeky, trying to late-dab a straight ball from Jadeja, RCB could have got more. Negi’s onslaught was little less fancied, though as effective when he took on debutant Ankit Soni for two sixes. Thanks to all of nine fours and four sixes that RCB could manage – Finch hit five fours and six sixes all by himself – the home side were tasked with successfully defending the lowest ever target at the Chinnaswamy.
Chahal’s no-ball sums up RCB’s dayHe’s India’s leading spinner in the Twenty20 Internationals, and it shows in the way Kohli trusts him, in IPL or otherwise. And he could have turned the game: Gujarat were 87 for 2 in 9.4 overs. That’s not quite where RCB would have wanted to be, defending such a modest total, but they could have gotten where they wanted to be, had Chahal scalped out Raina, then on 11. Gujarat Lions captain was caught at deep mid-wicket, the longest boundary at the Chinnaswamy, only for Chahal to overstep and bowl a front-foot no ball. The buzzers rung in for the free-hit instead and Finch rallied on at the other end, pushing RCB to the brink of an exit from the tournament.
Where the teams go from hereBoth the teams play their next game on Saturday (April 29). Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Rising Pune Supergiant in an away game. Gujarat Lions have a brilliant opportunity to build on this stunning win when they take on Mumbai Indians in a home game at Rajkot.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 134 in 20 overs (Pawan Negi 32, Kedar Jadhav 31; Andrew Tye 3-12) lost to Gujarat Lions 135-3 in 13.5 overs (Aaron Finch 72, Suresh Raina 34*; Samuel Badree 2-29) by seven wickets.