Royal Challengers Bangalore is the one IPL team, to whom the rains have given relentless chase, wherever they have gone this season. In the fixture against Rajasthan Royals, they lost the opportunity of defending 200 and two of their matches were reduced to 10 overs. On Friday, rain almost threw them out of the competition at Hyderabad. When play became possible, umpires decided that more than 11 overs per side could not be bowled. The D/L system is heartless because it does not account for situational complexities. Sunrisers had set a target of 136 for RCB from 11 overs but when the rains came pouring down a second time RCB needed 81 from 6. The D/L equation assumes that 136 from 11 and 81 from 6 are the same thing. David Warner had chosen to bat first and with half centuries from himself and Moises Henriques, SRH reached 135/3 in 11. When the covers came on again, RCB didn’t know how many overs they would get for the chase. Finally, when the match resumed at 12.15, they had just 6 overs in which to make 81. Chris Gayle took 17 off Dale Steyn’s first and departed at 35 off 10 balls. But Virat Kohli hung around until the end and ensured a 6-wicket victory by hitting a six on the penultimate ball from Bhuvi Kumar.
Having to bat first in a rain-affected match, Sunrisers made 27 in the first three overs, when the field was restricted but lost Shikhar Dhawan. Moises Henriques proved to be a perfect company for Warner. Henriques went for the kill and Warner was happy to allow an upper hand to him. The 28-year old Australian made 57 off 22 balls with 5 fours and 4 sixes, before he fell as SRH’s second wicket at 122. By that time SRH were already in the 10th over. In the remaining 15 balls, Eoin Morgan made 11 off 7 and Warner remained not out on a 32-ball 52. The score of 135/3 meant that RCB would need 136 in 11 in their chase for victory.
That didn’t happen as it started raining heavily once again. Everyone kept waiting and play could resume only after midnight. With further curtailment of the overs, the D/L target became 81 to be scored in 6 overs. It was not easy but RCB had the batting dynamite of Gayle, de Villiers and Kohli. If only one of them could click, they would sail to the play-offs. Dale Steyn bowled the first over and Chris Gayle got going straightaway and smashed the first ball to four and second to six. He ran a single and Kohli hit the fourth ball for another four. 17 runs came off the first over. Gayle was even more explosive in the second from Bhuvi Kumar whacking him for 24 as RCB reached the halfway mark in just 2 overs. But they lost Gayle and de Villiers in the third over from Henriques, which yielded just 3. Kohli had Mandeep Singh for company and together they eked out 14 runs from Karn Sharma’s fourth over. RCB now needed 24 from 12 balls. In the fifth over from Pravin Kumar, Kohli lost Mandeep Singh but managed 10 runs. Now Dinesh Karthik and Kohli needed to score 14 from 6 balls of Bhuvi Kumar. It was just touch and go now. Kumar yielded a single of the first ball but Karthik was run out the next in a bizarre fashion. Kohli had thumped a full toss and the shot first hit Karthik’s bat. As Bhuvi Kumar collected the ball and hurled at the stumps, Karthik had unnecessarily slowed down. Now it was Kohli and Kumar’s four balls that would decide the fate of the match. Kohli sruck two consecutive boundaries and lofted the fifth ball. Warner tracked the ball but after taking the catch, he slipped back with the ball in his hand and umpires declared it as six. RCB won and Kohli, who slammed 44 off 19 balls, was very rightly declared the Player-of-the-Match.
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