Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) picked up a stunning 18-point victory over Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in a low-scoring affair on Monday, seeking perfect revenge for their previous defeat in Bengaluru. With the victory, RCB moved up to fifth place with 10 points while LSG slipped one place to third.
Faf du Plessis & Co knew they had a lower total to defend and acted accordingly. Mohammed Siraj opened the attack and found the opening breakthrough on the third ball. Kyle Mayers looked to clear the infield but was beaten by the lack of rebound and handed an easy hold to Anuj Rawat.
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Since KL Rahul was out with an injury, Krunal Pandya came in at the no. 3 and looked to stabilize the chase after losing Mayers early. The southpaw smashed a boundary hat-trick to Siraj in the third to gain confidence, but was quickly taken out by Glenn Maxwell. Just in the next game, Krunal looked for an upside loft but ended up chipping the bottom half of the bat and Kohli made a nice catch almost long.
LSG were already in trouble after losing a few men on the power play and then Josh Hazlewood came on to add to their woes. Playing his first match this season, the Aussie quickly beat Ayush Badoni who played a slap drive on a fuller delivery. Kohli burst into the picture again, jumping onto the covers to take another take.
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Deepak Hooda was the next LSG batter to return after making a minimal contribution. He fell prey to Wanindu Hasaranga’s legbreak. Hooda pushed a little too much and couldn’t get his back foot inside the crease before Karthik pulled the bails out.
Lucknow was reduced to 34 for 6 late in the power play when Nicholas Pooran joined Marcus Stoinis in the middle. Given their current forms, it seemed like an easy way to move forward from there, but Karn Sharma had other plans. He got the better of Pooran with a broken leg, opening the floodgates for LSG.
Krishnappa Gowthan was the next man to join Stoinis in the middle. The Karnataka all-rounder looked to increase the pressure on RCB, smashing Karn Sharma for a six followed by a limit and then hammering Hasaranga for a max on the aim screen. The duo of Gowtham and Stoinis could add 27 points for the 6e wicket but then Karn struck again to remove the latter.
With 62 more required and Gowtham doing just fine, Lucknow still had hope. In fact, captain KL Rahul was also ready on the sidelines, preparing to strike. But back-to-back outings have further tarnished LSG’s pursuit. Harshal Patel’s throws took Gowtham and Bishnoi by surprise, putting RCB at the top of the game.
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Finalists Amit Mishra and Naveen-ul-Haq are looking to lead the chase with 50 needed over the final five overs. They hit patiently, took no chances, and punished stray balls for the boundary. They even deepened the game and added 26 points for the 9e ticket office. But Hazlewood struck in the penultimate and struck out Naveen for run-a-ball 13.
Rahul, who could barely walk, was limping in the field. He broke a few balls but couldn’t run which put Mishra on the strike in the final. The veteran spinner found a boundary before losing his wicket to Harshal.
Earlier, a disciplined bowling attack limited RCB to a paltry 126 for 9. Going to bat, RCB never had momentum in their innings despite the opening duo of skipper Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli sharing a partnership of 62 points. However, the LSG bowlers pulled off the game brilliantly.
Meanwhile, LSG suffered a big blow on the final delivery of the second when skipper KL Rahul pulled his right thigh muscle while chasing a ball towards the boundary of extra coverage. Rahul failed to stop the boundary, stared in considerable pain and limped off the field. In his absence, Krunal Pandya led the team.
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