MAY 19, 2018
Brief Scorecard: Rajasthan Royals 164 for 5 (Tripathi 80*, Rahane 33, Klaasen 32, Umesh 3-25) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 134 (de Villiers 53, Parthiv 33, Shreyas 4-16, Laughlin 2-15) by 30 runs
May 19, 2018: Rajasthan Royals v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2018, Jaipur Good stride, high elbow: Rahul Tripathi plays a picture perfect cover drive. – BCCI
JAIPUR – Royal Challengers Bangalore had no one from Bengaluru in their XI. Rajasthan Royals had three. One didn’t get to bat or bowl, but the other two, Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham, played starring roles in knocking their hometown franchise out of IPL 2018. The 30-run win kept Royals’ playoff hopes alive, though their fate will now be decided by how other teams perform over this final weekend of league fixtures.
Shreyas, picked as Royals’ second legspinner on a pitch that they correctly read as a slow turner that would grow slower and turnier through the match, finished with career-best figures of 4 for 16. All his wickets – one caught-and-bowled and three stumpings – were earned via flight, dip and turn, virtues rewarded by this unusual IPL pitch where a good length was actually a good length for the spinners.
Gowtham smacked 14 off five balls after coming in to bat in the last over of Royals’ innings and then conceded only six runs in two overs of offspin while dismissing Virat Kohli for a low score.
A 55-run second-wicket partnership, between Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers, followed Kohli’s dismissal, and put RCB in a strong position at 75 for 1 in the ninth over. But Shreyas ran through the middle order and the rest simply crumbled, the last nine wickets falling for only 59 runs.
Royals go slow, quick, slow
Ajinkya Rahane wanted to bat first, and Kohli wanted to chase. Royals won the toss, both captains got their respective wishes, but it was Rahane who, with hindsight, read the conditions best. He sent in another new Royals opening combination, Jofra Archer pushed up the order to partner Rahul Tripathi.
Archer fell early to a short ball from Umesh Yadav in the second over, a wicket-maiden, and Rahane walked in at No. 3. The second-wicket pair began a counterattack that took Royals from 2 for 1 at the two-over mark to 45 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay. Rahane and Tripathi hit three fours each in this period – the pick of them a straight-bat shovel over mid-on by Rahane off Umesh – and Tripathi a slog-swept six as well, off Moeen Ali.
Thereafter, though, they cut down on the risks against spread-out fields on one of the larger outfields in the IPL, ostensibly to keep wickets in hand and not expose Royals’ lack of batting depth. Only one four came from the start of the seventh over to the end of the 11th, with the bulk of the 35 runs in that period coming via singles to the deep fielders, singles RCB weren’t too fussed about conceding.
Klaasen, Gowtham make up for Umesh’s strikes
Tripathi reached fifty in the 12th over and celebrated by stepping out and hitting Colin de Grandhomme for a straight six. Twenty-one came off two overs, and the momentum titled slightly Royals’ way, before Umesh Yadav came back into the attack and turned the game again. Rahane fell lbw for 33 off 31 – he only made 14 off 17 after the Powerplay – and Sanju Samson chipped the next ball straight to midwicket.
Royals’ depth was going to be tested now, with 6.4 overs still left. They passed the test on this occasion, with Klaasen scoring 32 off 21 with some stunning shots – the best of them a carved six over backward point off a wide yorker from Mohammed Siraj – and Gowtham clouting Tim Southee for two sixes in the last over. Twenty-eight came off the last two overs, and Royals finished on 164 for 5.