After coming out on tops in their first two matches, RCB took an about turn by snatching an unexpected defeat from the jaws of a certain victory against KKR on Thursday. On Saturday, the team did much worse, after being put into bat by RR, who won the toss. In the simmering Dubai heat, it appeared as if the RCB batsmen quickly wanted to return to their shaded dug-outs rather than be under an unwelcome sunshine that would have, otherwise, been beating down on their backs, had they continued. They lost badly but saved the ignominy of creating a record for the lowest IPL in history by crossing 58. In yet another low-scoring game, played later in the evening, KXIP continued their unabated winning march by successfully defending 132 runs against KKR, who they beat by 23 runs.
In the first match, RCB created unnecessary pressure for themselves right at the start. They lost the first two wickets on the 4th and 5th deliveries of Stuart Binny’s opening over. It was not as if Binny bowled brilliantly but RCB were unduly out of focus. Takawale heaved aimlessly and missed. The ball, however, took the edge of his bat and Keeper Sanju Samson held the catch gleefully. Virat Kohli joined Parthiv Patel and should have known better about calling Patel for a non-existent run so early in the innings. Patel had to comply with his skipper but could not reach the safety of the crease. Worse was yet to come for RCB. After Parthiv Patel, Yuvraj Singh joined Kohli and somehow survived 6 balls. On his 7th and 1st of the third over from Kane Richardson, the rupees 140 million man needlessly fiddled with a dangerous 130 kph outswinger and Steven Smith gladly held the catch in the second slip. Despite scoring in bits and pieces in previous matches, Yuvraj Singh is yet to come to terms with himself. After removing Yuvraj with the first delivery, Richardson bowled AB de Villiers with his second and RCB’s score-line read 5/4 in the third over. Only Virat Kohli stood from the pack as Sachin Rana fell as the fifth wicket and Albie Morkel as sixth. When Kohli got out as the seventh wicket the score could only reach 46 in 10.3 overs. Towards the end Mitchell Starc and Ravi Rampaul scored some runs but once they got out, it was all over for RCB in 15 overs. With 70 runs on board, only a one-sided drab affair loomed ahead. Of the last 5 wickets that fell, 4 were snapped up by Pravin Tambe, who gave away only 20 runs in his 4 overs.
RR began well with Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair putting on 31 for the first wicket. But there was some flutter, when 3 wickets fell in 12 balls. Shane Watson and Abhishek Nayar carried on until Watson got out at 68. In the end however, RR reached the target with 7 overs remaining.
In the second match, KXIP were asked to bat first by KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir. For the first time this season, Glenn Maxwell was kept away from repeating his earlier explosive form. Things did not begin well for KXIP, as Pujara left early in the 2nd over and Wriddhiman Saha in the 5th. Albie Morkel then got rid of the dangerous Maxwell with a superb 149 kph Yorker, which uprooted the batsman’s leg stump. Virender Sehwag, however, carried on in the company of David Miller, George Bailey and Rishi Dhawan, all of whom made small but useful contributions. Sehwag fell as the 6th wicket, when he was deceived by a Piyush Chawla googly, which sneaked in to strike his middle stump. The ex-KXIP leggie finished the innings with 3 wickets and KXIP could only reach 132/9 in 20 overs.
For KKR, the target of 133 seemed easy in the beginning, but this time KXIP bowlers restricted the scoring. Sandeep Sharma polished off the KKR top order with 3 wickets beginning with trapping Manish Pandey as an LBW victim. Gautam Gambhir nearly reached his fourth straight duck, when he got a leading edge to a delivery from Sandeep Sharma for a catch back to the bowler. Sharma dived but the ball slipped off his hand. The off-color Gambhir did not last long however. Playing carelessly, he drove Sharma into the hands of Akshar Patel, after scoring just one run, when the KKR score read 19/2. At the same score, the dependable Jacques Kallis also departed. KKR were saved more damage by Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa, who carried on until Lynn got out, making it 50/4 for KKR in the 12th over. It was a pathetic batting display for KKR and only Surya Yadav stood out from the pack with wickets falling at the other end. With Akshar Patel and Mitchell Johnson dealing heavy blows towards the end, the KKR succumbed to 109 all out in 18.3 overs to present KXIP with their fourth victory in 4 matches.
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