Report: Royals Knock Out RCB in IPL Eliminator Thriller

Royals Overcome RCB to Secure Knockout Clash Against SRH

Rajasthan Royals vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2024 Eliminator

In the high-octane world of IPL, form and momentum often take a backseat to the sheer unpredictability of T20 cricket. The IPL 2024 Eliminator showcased this in full measure as Rajasthan Royals (RR) defied their recent poor run to eliminate a resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and set up a knockout clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

Toss and First Innings: A Crucial Start

The toss proved vital, with the Royals opting to field first, a decision influenced by the dew factor in Ahmedabad. RCB, fresh off six consecutive wins, were restricted to a competitive yet seemingly insufficient 172, thanks to an adept bowling display by the Royals.

RCB’s innings was a tale of contrasting fortunes from either end of the pitch. The longer square boundary made scoring challenging, and RR’s bowlers exploited this to the hilt. Trent Boult, R Ashwin, and Avesh Khan shone with their precise line and length, making the most of the favourable conditions.

Faf du Plessis, RCB’s captain, reflected on their innings, admitting they were about 20 runs short. “We felt it was a 180 pitch when we batted, but the dew made it a significantly higher-scoring one for the chase,” he said.

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Trent Boult’s Early Impact

Boult’s early spell set the tone for RR. Swinging the new ball prodigiously, he allowed no room for the batters to free their arms, conceding just six runs and two leg-byes in his three overs. He also claimed the vital wicket of du Plessis, ending an opening stand of 37.

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At the other end, Virat Kohli looked in sublime touch, racing to 30 off 19 balls by the end of the powerplay, showcasing his masterful use of the feet to disrupt the bowlers’ lengths.

Middle Overs: Chahal and Ashwin Turn the Screws

Yuzvendra Chahal, in a crucial moment, got rid of Kohli, whose attempt to slog-sweep saw him caught on the midwicket boundary. Kohli’s newfound scoring method against spin, particularly the slog-sweep, had been a revelation this season, but it faltered at a critical juncture.

Ashwin was instrumental in applying the brakes on RCB’s scoring. Bowling with a blend of high pace deliveries and carrom ball variations, he kept the batsmen guessing. His precise bowling after key wickets added immense pressure on the opposition.

Despite occasional flourishes, RCB’s innings was punctuated by regular setbacks. Dhruv Jurel’s drop of Rajat Patidar provided a brief respite, but Ashwin struck back quickly, removing Cameron Green and Glenn Maxwell in successive overs.

Avesh Khan’s Crucial Interventions

Avesh Khan’s late spell was pivotal. Although Chahal conceded 19 in the 14th over, Avesh’s ability to extract bounce and his deceptive leg cutters were critical. He dismissed Patidar and Karthik, ensuring RCB couldn’t break free in the death overs. Lomror’s late onslaught, featuring two leg-side sixes off Chahal, pushed RCB to 172, a total that appeared insufficient given the dew factor.

Royals’ Chase: Jaiswal and Samson Lead the Charge

RR’s chase began with some fortune. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tom Kohler-Cadmore were beneficiaries of dropped chances, but they capitalised, taking RR to 45 for no loss by the end of the fifth over. Kohler-Cadmore’s dismissal in the sixth over by Lockie Ferguson was a minor hiccup, as Jaiswal and Sanju Samson accelerated, particularly targeting the shorter boundary.

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Green’s introduction in the tenth over applied some brakes, and his disciplined lengths fetched him the wicket of Jaiswal. The run-out of Jurel and Samson’s stumping added to the tension, leaving RR at a precarious 58 off 36.

Hetmyer and Parag Seal the Win

The game’s decisive moment came in the 16th over, when Hetmyer and Parag hammered 17 off Green’s over, significantly easing the equation. Hetmyer’s boundaries off Dayal and Ferguson ensured RR stayed ahead in the chase, despite a couple of nervy moments towards the end.

Mohammed Siraj’s double strike in the 18th over, dismissing Parag and Hetmyer, gave RCB a glimmer of hope. But Rovman Powell’s composed finishing, including a straight six, sealed the victory with six balls to spare.

The Royals’ triumph over RCB not only ended the latter’s campaign but also highlighted the unpredictable and thrilling nature of T20 cricket. As RR prepare for their knockout clash against SRH, they carry the momentum of this hard-fought victory and the lessons learned from overcoming a formidable opponent.

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