Rajasthan Royals (RR) defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 19 runs to register their second win in three matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday.
Rajasthan put up a huge score of 217 for 4 wickets, riding on Sanju Samson's blistering 92 not out off 45 deliveries. RCB managed to score 198/6 as the southern outfit suffered its second loss in three games.
Samson shared crucial partnerships with Ben Stokes (27 off 21), Jos Buttler (23 off 14) and Rahul Tripathi (14 not out off five), as Rajasthan capitalised on a strong start provided by captain Ajinkya Rahane (36 off 20).
Right-hander Rahane hit six fours and a six to provide the early fireworks for the visitors as they raced to 49 off 5.4 overs till the dismissal of the Indian international. Rahane hit a slower delivery from English medium pacer Chris Woakes into the hands of Umesh Yadav at mid-on.
In the following over, the other opening batsman D'Arcy Short (11 off 17) under-edged a delivery from leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and was caught by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.
These two quick wickets boosted RCB's confidence only to be destroyed by Samson and Stokes later. Both milked runs, despite good bowling from Chahal and Washington Sundar.
Samson moved to score 50 off 34 balls as he shared an important partnership of 49 runs with Stokes, who was bowled by Chahal in the second delivery of the 13th over, with Rajasthan at 102/3.
Later, Samson joined hands with Buttler to dominate the home bowling. Buttler hit a six against Woakes and two fours against spinners Chahal and Pawan Negi before losing his wicket to Woakes.
Samson went berserk in the final three overs. The Kerala right-hander hit medium pacer Kulwant Khejroliya for two sixes in the 18th over.
Woakes bore the brunt of his clean-hitting, getting whacked for two fours and a six in the penultimate over. In the final over, Samson hit India pacer Umesh Yadav for two sixes to take Rajasthan beyond the 200-run mark.
RCB's reply was very strong, launched by the 77-run second-wicket partnership between Virat Kohli (57 off 30) and De Kock (26 off 19). But losing the pair and AB de Villiers (20 off 18) meant that the game tilted in favour of the visitors.
Kohli and De Kock meted out some heavy punishment to the likes of spinner Gowtham and medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni.
De Kock pulled spinner Short to Unadkat at deep backward square leg as Rajasthan saw the end of a potential match-turning partnership.
In came RCB's big gun de Villiers but Rajasthan decided to employ spinners Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal to force Kohli and de Villiers to go for power.
The strategy worked wonders as both the dangerous batsmen fell to Gopal trying to up the ante. While Kohli was caught at deep midwicket by Short, de Villiers pulled Gopal into the hands of Unadkat at deep square leg in the 13th over. After de Villiers' wicket, the hosts were at 114/4 and were left a huge mountain to climb, still requiring 104 runs in 7.3 overs.
Mandeep Singh (47 not out off 25 deliveries) and Sundar (35 off 19) tried their best and impressed with their big-hitting to give RCB hope. They needed 48 runs from the last two overs.
Medium pacer Stokes conceded only 12 runs in the penultimate over and removed Sundar to end the home side's challenge. In the final over, Ben Laughlin gave away 16 runs.
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