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Samson's 92* outguns RCB's batting might

ESPNcricinfo logo ESPNcricinfo 15-04-2018 Deivarayan Muthu
© AP Photo

Rajasthan Royals: 217 for 4 (Samson 92, Rahane 36, Chahal 2-22) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 198 for 6 (Kohli 57, Sundar 35, Gopal 2-22) by 19 runs 

Sanju Samson's breathtaking 92 not out off 45 balls formed the centerpiece of Rajasthan Royals' 217 for 4, a score that proved 19 too many for Royal Challengers Bangalore. This despite a 26-ball fifty from Virat Kohli - his fastest in the IPL. Notably, this was also the first instance of a team defending a total in 11 full games in the league. Royals are the only team to have won despite losing the toss this season, and they have done it twice.

Full scorecard

On a familiar hit-through-the line Chinnaswamy pitch, they pillaged 88 runs off the last five overs of their innings - the joint second-highest in the IPL - of which Samson hit 58. Kohli then matched Samson's range in the chase but a rapidly rising asking rate was too much to overcome. Kohli, Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, and AB de Villiers all holed out in the deep.

Rahane explodes at the top

There were questions over Ajinkya Rahane's role as an opener in the Royals side, and he answered them in emphatic fashion, hammering 36 off 20 balls at 180 - his second-best strike-rate in the Powerplay in the IPL. He had hit 41 off 22 balls for Rising Pune Supergiant against Mumbai Indians in 2017. That the ball came onto the bat nicely at the Chinnaswamy Stadium made life easier for Rahane. He regularly manufactured swinging room outside leg and swatted the ball over the leg side. All told, he scored 33 of his 36 runs on the leg side.

The slowdown

After Royals sprinted to 52 for the loss of Rahane in the Powerplay, Yuzvendra Chahal set them back by danging legbreaks wide of off. The legspinner got one to drift away from D'Arcy Short and found the toe end in his second over and seventh of the match. He then forced Ben Stokes to drag a wide delivery onto the stumps and became the leading wicket-taker for RCB with 73 wickets. Chahal finished with 2 for 22 in his four overs, including 12 dots, on an evening where four of his team-mates conceded over 11 runs an over.

Samson's royal finish

At 15 overs, Royals were 129 for 3. The acceleration that followed was like a volcano blowing its lid. The next five overs read: 13, 15, 16, 17, and 27. Samson's innings wasn't about wild slogging. Instead, it was about sublime timing. He lined up the length balls from Woakes, Umesh Yadav, and Kulwant Khejroliya, and struck five sixes in the 'V'. The one that stood out was a lofted drive off an offcutter from Woakes in the 19th over. In all, Samson laced 10 sixes and two fours.

Kohli, de Kock join run spree

Local boy K Gowtham struck in the first over of the chase to dismiss McCullum for 4 but Kohli combined with de Kock to shave 64 runs off the target in the first six overs. Kohli had set the tone with three fours in four balls off Dhawal Kulkarni. He then greeted Stokes into the attack with a brace of fours: a rasping pull and a sliced drive. De Kock, meanwhile, contributed 26 in a 77-run stand that came at 10.50 runs an over.

Buttler's blunders

De Kock had been dropped on 23 by Jos Buttler behind the stumps but he added only three runs before sending a half-tracker from Short to deep square leg. The England wicketkeeper then reprieved AB de Villiers on 2 and 3 when he missed a stumping and run out respectively.

RCB lose steam

Those blunders did not cost Royals much. When Kohli pulled a half-tracker from Shreyas Gopal to deep square leg, RCB needed 117 off 58 balls. Two overs later, de Villiers holed out off a similar ball. Game over for RCB. The late blows from Mandeep Singh and Washington Sundar only reduced the margin of defeat.

Photos: Virat Kohli in the IPL

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