Royal Challengers Bangalore put on a clinical display with both bat and ball to beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in the Indian Premier League in Dubai on Wednesday, improving their chances of finishing in the top two. RCB successfully chased down 150 runs with 17 balls to spare. Glenn Maxwell, the star all-rounder, smashed an unbeaten 50 off just 30 balls, while KS Bharat scored 44 from 35 deliveries. Following the dismissals of Virat Kohli (25) and Devdutt Padikkal by the RR bowlers, RCB needed 71 runs in the back 10 to win (22).
Kohli and Padikkal got the squad off to a quick start, scoring nine runs per over on the power play for RCB. The Indian skipper hit three boundaries in the opening over, albeit the first one, which sailed past the slip cordon off a leading edge, was fortunate.
Both were able to escape after settling down, with Kohli succumbing to a brilliant direct hit from Riyan Parag after a diving stop.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals blew away a fast start to finish at 149 for nine, putting RCB in a strong position. After RR were cruising at 100 for one in the 11th over, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed (2/10) and leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal (2/18) started the slide.
In the final over, pacer Harshal Patel (3/34) came close to a hat-trick in consecutive matches, but Kartik Tyagi prevented him as RR lost eight wickets for 49 runs.
Evin Lewis top-scored with 58 off 37 balls, but he, like skipper Sanju Samson (19), was guilty of throwing away his wicket at a key stage.
RR saw off two calm overs after being given first strike at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium before Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal (31) decided to let wild.
RR were cruising at 39 for no loss at the conclusion of fourth over, having raced beyond the fifty-run mark in the next over, with Lewis being the aggressor.
Jaiswal smashed Mohammed Siraj through the covers for the first run of the day, and then clobbered Glenn Maxwell for a big six over far on in the next over.
After that, Lewis took charge, slamming debuting English left-arm bowler George Garton for two sixes and a four as RR amassed 18 runs off the over. Garton was returning to the attack after being mysteriously removed from the attack despite a very economical first over. As RR reached fifty in the fifth over, Lewis smashed another six and a four off Harshal Patel.
India pacer Siraj came back to bowl a tight sixth over but Jaiswal got two boundaries off Daniel Christian to record RR’s best opening partnership of the ongoing season, even as Kohli kept switching his bowlers frequently.
Maxwell kept things tight in the next over, giving away just four runs, before Jaiswal smoked Christian for a maximum over extra cover.
Christian, on the other hand, got the last laugh when Jaiswal misjudged his timing and failed to pass Siraj at mid-off.
It swung a little early on, but as the innings went, the fast bowlers didn’t get much purchase from the surface.
Lewis continued in the same vein, hitting Harshal Patel for two consecutive fours before in-form captain Sanju Samson went inside out to wallop Yuzvendra Chahal for a six over extra over.
Garton, who was bowled by Lewis in his second over, came back hard to avenge himself by having Trinidad’s big-hitter fly one for wicketkeeper Bharat Srikar to complete a high catch.
RR lost the plot after Samson knocked Garton over deep square leg for a six, the slide beginning with the wicket of Mahipal Lomror off Chahal.