RCB keep playoff hopes alive as RR fold for 59

RCB keep playoff hopes alive as RR fold for 59

The Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their 2023 season alive with a sensational bowling performance against the Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur, bowling out the hosts for the third-lowest score in IPL history to secure a clinical 112-run victory. Defending 172 on the back of half-centuries from Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell, the RCB bowlers ran riot as they skittled out the Royals for 59 in just 10.3 overs to jump to fifth position in the table with 12 points and two matches to go.

In a virtual must-win game for both sides in the race for the playoffs, RCB got off to a sedate start, with only 42 runs coming in the powerplay. Virat Kohli struggled against leg-spinners Chahal and Zampa and was eventually undone by a slower ball from Sandeep Sharma in the seventh over, departing for 18 off 19. However, sticking with their trend throughout the 2023 season, Maxwell and Faf du Plessis rescued RCB through the middle overs with another vital partnership.

Du Plessis anchored the innings with a 44-ball 55, while Maxwell took the onus to go after the spinners, smashing 54 runs from just 33 deliveries on a slow surface. Rajasthan pulled things back smartly after dismissing du Plessis at 119 for 2, with the skipper’s dismissal triggering a mini-collapse. RCB were in danger of posting a below-par score when Sandeep Sharma removed Maxwell in the 18th over, but Anuj Rawat played a blinding cameo at the death, adding 29 runs from 11 balls to carry Bangalore to 171.

The visitors extended that momentum into the second innings as they blew away the Rajasthan top order with the new ball. Both Rajasthan openers departed without troubling the scorers. Jaiswal slammed Siraj to Kohli at mid-on, while Jos Buttler cut a wide delivery from Parnell straight to point. To make matters worse, Sanju Samson skied one in the same over, leaving Rajasthan reeling at 7 for 3.

The wickets continued to tumble from that point onwards. Michael Bracewell removed Devdutt Padikkal for 4 while Joe Root’s maiden IPL innings ended with just one boundary to his name, with Parnell deceiving the Englishman with a cutter to pick up his third wicket.

Shimron Hetmyer launched a brief resistance, carting Karn Sharma for three consecutive sixes, but the West Indian was powerless in preventing RR’s slide. Ashwin fell to a run-out without facing a ball, while Maxwell ended Rajasthan’s hopes with the wicket of Hetmyer on 35. Karn Sharma picked up the final two wickets to put the finishing touches on the RCB win as the Royals crashed to a 112-run defeat after being bundled out for 59 in just 63 deliveries, effectively ending their hopes of finishing in the playoff spots with just one league remaining.