Rajasthan Royals Triumph Over RCB to Secure Spot in IPL Qualifier 2

A brilliant all-round performance helped Rajasthan Royals (RR) win by four wickets against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in the Eliminator of the TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. The victory sealed RR’s passage through to the Qualifier 2, where they will face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Chennai.

The drama unfolded right from the toss with RR deciding to bowl first. RCB’s innings, despite showing glimpses of promise for a high score, was stifled by sharp interventions from RR’s bowlers. Batters from RCB started strong but failed to convert their starts into significant contributions. RR’s bowlers always managed to pick up a wicket just when RCB seemed poised to accelerate.

Trent Boult got RR off to a stellar start with an impeccable spell with the new ball, conceding just six runs in his three overs and claiming the crucial wicket of Faf du Plessis for 17. On the other end, Sandeep Sharma encountered a rough second over, giving away 12 runs. Avesh Khan’s introduction in the fourth over was met with a mighty pull shot for six by Virat Kohli. Boult continued his impactful spell by dismissing du Plessis in the fifth over – du Plessis’s attempt to clear mid-wicket ended in a well-timed diving catch by Rovman Powell in the deep.

RCB’s strategy saw Cameron Green coming in at No. 3, ahead of Rajat Patidar. By the end of the powerplay, RCB were at a decent 50 for one. Yuzvendra Chahal’s introduction in the eighth over proved pivotal as Kohli, chasing quick runs to boost the run-rate, holed out to mid-wicket for 33, handing RR a significant breakthrough.

The subsequent overs witnessed a fluctuating battle. Green unleashed aggressive shots against Chahal, while Patidar struggled to find his rhythm. Meanwhile, R Ashwin bowled a tight spell in the middle overs, applying pressure that eventually forced RCB’s batters into risky shots. Patidar was briefly reprieved when a long-on fielder dropped a catch, but Green (27 off 21 balls) soon fell to a catch at cover by Powell in the 13th over. Glenn Maxwell followed Green’s departure, hitting straight to long-on for an easy catch, reducing RCB to 97 for four within 13 overs.

Patidar found his stride momentarily, launching two sixes in quick succession.

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. However, Avesh Khan struck again as Patidar holed out to mid-off for 34 in the 15th over. Dinesh Karthik faced immediate pressure and successfully overturned an LBW decision with the third-umpire’s help.

Mahipal Lomror’s enterprising knock of 32 off 17 balls lifted RCB’s sluggish pace, helping them cross the 160-run mark. Late boundaries from Swapnil Singh and Karn Sharma in the final over pushed RCB to a respectable 172.

RR’s run-chase began with every bit of the drama one would anticipate. RCB’s bowlers managed to keep RR’s openers subdued in the first two overs. Yashaswi Jaiswal, however, broke the inertia in the third over, picking four boundaries off Yash Dayal, though one of them was a dropped chance at first slip. The openers’ effort added 46 runs, before Lockie Ferguson bowled Tom Kohler-Cadmore for 20 with a great slower ball in the fifth over.

Sanju Samson and Jaiswal kept RR in line with the required run-rate, finding regular boundaries. As Jaiswal approached his 40s, he attempted an audacious scoop off Green but feathered it to the wicketkeeper. Samson, trying to dominate Karn Sharma, charged down the track but was stumped off a wide for 17.

With RR wobbling after the fall of key wickets, the responsibility shifted to Riyan Parag. Despite a brilliant run-out of Dhruv Jurel courtesy of Kohli, Parag remained composed, collaborating effectively with Shimron Hetmyer, who was brought in as the Impact Player.

As RR needed 48 off the last five overs, Hetmyer’s powerful six over long-on off the first ball by Green set the tone. Parag followed with a six over cover and a four through third-man. With the required rate no longer a daunting task, Hetmyer’s experience came to the fore. Though Siraj returned to dismiss Parag (36 off 26) and Hetmyer (26 off 14 balls), the task was reduced to a manageable run-a-ball.

Rovman Powell ensured there were no further hiccups, finishing in style with two boundaries and a six in the penultimate over, sealing the match for RR.

It’s off to Chennai for the Rajasthan Royals as they gear up to face Kolkata Knight Riders in the crucial Qualifier 2.

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