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Tye, Finch push Bangalore to the brink


“I’m sure we won’t bat like that again in the tournament,” Virat Kohli had said after Royal Challengers Bangalore were bowled out for 49 by Kolkata Knight Riders last week. Bangalore did bat better – which is no consolation – but yet another under-par performance inflicted a severe dent on, if not destroyed, their qualification hopes as they lost to a spirited Gujarat Lions by seven wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday (April 27).

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Put in to bat, Bangalore were skittled for just 134 in exactly 20 overs, with only three of their top seven reaching double-digits. Andrew Tye was the star with the ball for Gujarat, returning remarkable figures of 4-0-12-3, before Aaron Finch killed the chase with a 34-ball 72 that saw Gujarat home in just 13.5 overs. Bangalore now have only five points from nine matches, while Gujarat moved up from the bottom of the table to be on six points from eight games. Kohli arrived at the venue an hour before his teammates and had an extended net session, but the hard work wouldn’t turn into runs.

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He began in style, depositing Basil Thampi over deep mid-wicket with a casual whip in the second over, but the bowler had the last laugh an over later when Kohli pulled straight to short fine-leg. Kohli’s exit resulted in a procession, triggered by the accuracy of Tye. The pacer found the outside edges of Chris Gayle and Travis Head off successive balls – Gayle nicking to the ‘keeper and Head undone by the extra bounce that took the ball to slip. Within no time, Bangalore were reeling at 22 for 3, Gujarat had taken three wickets in four balls, and Tye was in with a chance of his second hat-trick of the tournament. 

Kedhar Jadhav ensured Tye wouldn’t have three in a row and triggered a mini-revival, taking Thampi for three fours in the sixth over, including an audacious upper-slash wide of third-man. Despite that, Bangalore managed just 35 runs in the Power Play.

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Jadhav upper that run-rate by taking on Ravindra Jadeja and Ankit Soni, the debutant legspinner, successfully in the next two overs, allowing AB de Villiers to settle down. But just when the duo could even think about a revival, Jadhav threw it away, backing away too much and missing a straight ball from Jadeja in the ninth over.

To make matters worse, de Villiers and Mandeep Singh were involved in a mid-pitch mix-up four balls later, allowing Jadeja to run out de Villiers with a direct hit from point at the striker’s end. It left Bangalore at 60 for 5, and with a long tail, it spelt massive trouble. That Bangalore got as far as they eventually did was thanks to a cameo from Pawan Negi.

He targeted Jadeja and Soni and raced into the 30s much like Jadhav did, but he too threw it away and holed out in the deep trying to slog Soni in the same over where he had hit two sixes. It was a risk that could have been avoided with the team on 100 for 5 with more than six overs remaining, which Bangalore just about managed to survive.

Gujarat sprang a surprise by opening with Ishan Kishan in the chase and the move seemed to have worked when he unleashed a flurry of boundaries. However, Samuel Badree put an end to the promising start when he trapped him leg before on the sweep in the third over.

Badree raised Bangalore’s hopes when Brendon McCullum, in his 100th IPL game, holed out to long-on in the fifth over, but Finch walked out and displayed the art of killing a small chase. Finch set the tone with two massive sixes off Badree in the same over and followed it up with two boundaries in the next over, off S Arvind. The boundary barrage only increased after the Power Play – by when Gujarat had raced to 49 for 2 – with Finch smashing Aniket Choudhary for two fours and a six.

Not even Yuzvendra Chahal was spared, as Finch reached his half-century off just 22 balls – the fastest ever by a Gujarat batsman. To have even an outside shot, Bangalore needed wickets urgently. They nearly got one when Raina lofted Chahal to deep mid-wicket, only for the third umpire to spot an overstep by the bowler. Finch continued his six-hitting fun at the other end, and by the time he fell slapping Negi to long-on, the chase was a mere formality.

Also Watch: Tye’s hat-trick sets up GL's victory

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