Ajinkya Rahane was a relieved captain as Rajasthan Royals bowlers scripted a 30-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday (May 19) despite AB de Villiers’ fifty.
Chasing the target of 165, RCB were placed at 75/1 after 8 overs. However, Shreyas Gopal’s awe-inspiring spell changed the course of the game as he claimed four wickets in quick succession to reduce RCB to 98/6. AB De Villiers was the lone warrior for RCB with 53 runs off 35 balls.
Besides Gopal, Ben Laughlin and Jaydev Unadkar also picked up two wickets each as RCB were eventually bundled out for 134 in 19.2 overs. With this loss, the Bangalore-based franchise also let slip the opportunity to seal the playoff spot in IPL 2018.
Reflecting on his bowlers’ remarkable show at the post-match presentation, Rahane said: "Definitely much needed victory for us. We knew that 160 would be very difficult on this wicket. Though RCB had a very good batting line up. Credit goes to our bowlers. Under pressure, the two leggies did really well. Getting wickets in the middle overs was never easy."
Rajasthan’s experiment to open with Jofra Archer didn’t go according to the plan as Umesh Yadav removed him in the second over for a four-ball duck.
Explaining the reason behind sending Jofra Archer at the very top, the RR skipper stated: "I think the intent was to go positive from the start. We felt Jofra at the top of the order could give us a positive start and our batting order would have looked deeper."
Rahul Tripathi along with Rahane forged a 99-run stand for the second wicket to bring Rajasthan out of trouble. However, Umesh’s double strike in the 14th over once again dented the inaugural IPL champions.
While Yadav dismissed Rahane for 33, he didn’t let Sanju Samson open his account. After the double blow, Heinrich Klaasen joined Tripathi at the crease and the duo added 48 runs for the fourth wicket to propel Rajasthan to 164/5 in 20 overs. While Klaasen made 32 runs off 21 balls, Tripathi remained not out on 58-ball 80 (5 fours and 3 sixes).
"It was important to play good cricket. This evening was very special. It was more about focusssing on the things that we could control. Klaasen's innings was really good and Rahul's innings at the top was magnificent. It is important to enjoy this win and stay calm," Rahane concluded.