Rajasthan Royals (RR) triumphed the Battle Royale against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). They won by seven wickets in the Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad to enter the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 final after a 14-year gap. They will now face tournament debutants and league toppers Gujarat Titans (GT) at the same venue on Sunday.
Rajasthan’s win was set up by another special knock from Jos Buttler (106* in 60 balls) after their fast bowlers – Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy – had figures of 12-0-73-7 between them.
Buttler emulated Virat Kohli’s 2016 record of four hundreds in a single IPL season of the IPL. Kohli had done the same in 2016, when Bangalore had finished runners-up. He also became the third, after Kohli and David Warner, to breach the 800-run mark in a single edition.
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Royal Challengers Bangalore 157/8 in 20 overs
Rajasthan started on a positive note, with Sanju Samson finally winning the toss. Going with the trend, he elected to bowl, which meant the massive crowd at the world’s largest cricket stadium were immediately greeted by Kohli’s presence at the crease.
Kohli’s stay lasted eight balls. Prasidh Krishna hurried him with the extra bounce on the pitch to have Kohli caught behind. But with captain Faf du Plessis (25 in 27 balls) going at a run a ball, Rajat Patidar (58 in 42), Bangalore’s hero from the last match, accelerated.
As the Rajasthan pacers gave very little away, the Bangalore batters had to target the spinners, who have been phenomenal this season. After an off game in Kolkata, R. Ashwin (4-0-31-1) found his rhythm back and got the big wicket of Patidar. However, Yuzvendra Chahal went over 11 an over.
Before that, du Plessis fell to McCoy in the 11th over. Glenn Maxwell (24 off 13), who was threatening to run away with the game, fell to Boult in the 14th over. Bangalore were 111/3 at this stage.
After Patidar fell in the 16th over, RCB just managed 27 runs from the last 27 balls, in stark contrast with their fortunes in the Eliminator, where they had got 84 in the last five overs.
McCoy conceded only 10 in his final two overs, getting the wickets of Mahipal Lomror (8 in 10 balls) and Harshal Patel (1 in 2), while Prasidh buried the horrors of the first Qualifier with a fantastic 19th over, when he conceded eight and picked the key wickets of Dinesh Karthik (6 off 7) and Wanindu Hasaranga (0 off 1) off consecutive deliveries – a yorker at almost 148 kph to castle the latter.
Rajasthan Royals 161/3 in 18.1 overs
There was barely any drama in the Rajasthan innings. Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal (21 off 13) began aggressively, getting 67/1 in the Powerplay. The duo targeted Mohammed Siraj, who went for 31 in his two overs.
As the scoreboard pressure eased, it was just a matter of batting through. Sanju Samson (23 in 21 balls) and Devdutt Padikkal (9 in 12) batted around Buttler to ensure a big win.
In the 11th over of the innings, Karthik dropped an easy catch of Buttler off Harshal Patel. For Bangalore, Josh Hazlewood (4-0-23-2) and Hasaranga (4-0-26-1) were among the few positives.
In the inaugural edition of the IPL, the late Shane Warne led Rajasthan to a tournament win. Ever since that season, they have failed to replicate the show. Warne remained a part of the Royals' extended unit until his last breath – they still call him the first Royal. This season, the buzz around Rajasthan was whether they could win it for Warne?
Rajasthan have lost both their matches against Gujarat this season, the last being in Qualifier 1 earlier this week.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 157/8 in 20 overs (Rajat Patidar 58; Prasidh Krishna 3-23) lost to Rajasthan Royals 161/3 in 18.1 overs (Jos Buttler 106*; Josh Hazlewood 2-31) by 7 wickets with 11 balls to spare. Player of the Match: Jos Buttler.