Rajasthan Royals 173-6 (Samson 63) beat
Royal Challengers Bangalore 171-6 by 4 wickets
Indian Premier League 2013, Jaipur
Report by Chetan Narula
Rajasthan Royals continued their unbeaten run at home with a fine four-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, at Jaipur. The Royals now have twelve points from nine games and are placed third in the 2013 IPL points table. The other Royals, the Challengers from Bangalore, meanwhile have lost their second game on the bounce and are now feeling vulnerable in second spot, also with twelve points but from ten games played.
The hosts won the toss and skipper Rahul Dravid elected to field first. Chris Gayle had a new partner in Abhinav Mukund this time, and they got off to a fiery start, putting up 44 runs in just four overs. But Gayle himself was the first to go, scoring 34 off 16 balls with six fours and one six, falling to Shane Watson (3-22). Mukund (19) fell four overs later with the scoring slowed down and it became a hallmark of the Bangalore innings that none of their top batsmen were able to convert starts into big runs.
Their captain Virat Kohli (32) and AB de Villiers (22) were the primary guilty ones, for when Gayle falls, the bulk of scoring falls on their shoulders. It was a disciplined bowling effort once again from Rajasthan, with Watson bowling again and taking the lead with the rest playing good support roles. Siddharth Trivedi (1-20) and Sreesanth (1-35) were the other wicket-takers as brakes were constantly applied to the Bangalore innings, never letting their score get away.
Moises Henriques was brought in place of Tillakaratne Dilshan to provide some steel to the middle order, yet he could only manage 22 runs before being run-out. Saurabh Tiwary came too late in the order to be of any use once again, and it was only a six-ball 22 run blitz in the last over that saw the Challengers move on from 149 for six in the 19th over to 171 for six in their allotted twenty overs. R Vinay Kumar was the hero with three sixes in that last over off James Faulkner (0-42).
Chasing 172 was never going to be easy but Dravid played his cards quite well. He again opened the innings with Ajinkya Rahane, though the move backfired with the latter bowled by Ravi Rampaul (2-28) for 2 runs. Dravid though rallied on to provide a platform for some big hitting later on, as Sanju Samson came out to bat at number three ahead of Watson. Together they put 27 runs before the Rajasthan captain was bowled by Henriques (1-6) for 22 runs.
Samson though played a winning hand and with Watson he built a 68-run stand for the third wicket. Watson was the aggressor here, scoring 41 runs off 31 balls with three fours and one six. But Samson’s calm was needed to push Rajasthan towards their total as he brought up his fifty off 32 balls. He wasn’t finished yet, eventually scoring 63 off 41 balls. He hit seven fours and two sixes in his match-winning effort, dismissed in the 15th over.
Brad Hodge then walked out and did what he was expected to do, smacking 32 runs off only 18 balls inclusive of one four and two sixes, tilting the balance in his side’s favour. But after his 46-run stand with Watson, Rajasthan lost three quick wickets bringing Bangalore back in contention.
Six runs were needed off six balls and two of those wickets came in that last over bowled by Vinay Kumar (1-39), but Stuart Binny (6 not out) and James Faulkner (1 not out) did enough to take Rajasthan across the finish line.
© Cricket World 2013
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