The Ajinkya Rahane-led Rajasthan Royals (RR) registered a clinical 7-wicket victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), to open its account in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season. RR leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal displayed an amazing effort with the ball to restrict the opposition within a thin first innings total. While in the second innings, Jos Buttler composed a fluent half-century knock to help his team attain a commanding position in the run-chase, after which the duo of Steven Smith and Rahul Tripathi finished off the proceedings with pretty much ease and in turn propelled RR to a splendid victory.
Parthiv’s excellent knock helps RCB post a competitive total
After losing the toss and being put in to bat first, the two RCB openers, skipper Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel provided their team with a decent start, adding 49 runs for the opening wicket partnership. Suddenly it looked like RCB has figured out the solution to their opening combination woes, but then RR leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal bowled a corker of a delivery to dismiss Kohli. Kohli’s wicket brought in AB de Villiers at the crease, who straightway smacked Gopal for a crisp boundary, before eventually getting dismissed by him for the third time in IPL. After picking up two heavyweight wickets, Gopal once again inflicted some jitters in the RCB dressing room by getting rid of Shimron Hetmyer.
The pair of Parthiv Patel and Marcus Stoinis then resurrected the RCB innings with a half-century stand for the fourth wicket. Parthiv played a brilliant knock of 67 runs off 41 balls which included 9 fours and 1 six. Towards the end, Stoinis and Moeen contributed with valuable cameos to help RCB reach a competitive total of 158 runs. Gopal was the pick of the RR bowlers, picking three key top order wickets at an impressive economy.
Buttler’s fine half-century leads RR in the chase
Chasing a target of 159 runs, RR got off to a great start due to the two openers, Jos Buttler and skipper Ajinkya Rahane smashing 60 runs for the opening wicket stand. Both the openers were playing really well with Buttler playing the role of an aggressor, while Rahane acting as a second fiddle. Yuzvendra Chahal bowled a beautiful googly to dismiss Rahane and in turn break the half-century stand. However, even after losing his partner, Buttler kept on playing his natural, racking up a fabulous fifty off 38 balls.
Chahal once again came to rescue his team, removing the dangerous looking Buttler and in turn helping his team make a slight comeback. Before being dismissed for 43-ball 59, Buttler had already set up a great platform for the rest of the batters. Towards the end, Steven Smith and Rahul Tripathi batted extremely well to steer their team to a remarkable victory.
RCB: 158/4 in 20 overs (Parthiv Patel-67, Marcus Stoinis-31*; Shreyas Gopal 3/12)
RR: 159/3 in 18.5 overs (Jos Buttler-59, Steven Smith-38; Yuzvendra Chahal 2/17)
Result: Rajasthan Royals won the match by 7 wickets.
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