In a match which saw more rain than cricket, Rajasthan Royals were on course to secure two more points and move to 12 on the points table. However, weather had the final say, as rain returned to abandon the rest of the game. Both teams bagged a point each, as we moved up to 11 points, while RCB moved to 9. After being set 63 to win in a 5-overs-a-side game, we were coasting at 41/1 off 3.2 overs when the clouds opened up.
Steve Smith won the toss yet again and decided to bowl. Right after the captains walked back into the dressing room, it began drizzling at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium. After several anxious moments where the covers came off and then back on, we got confirmation at 11:05 PM that the two sides would play out a 5-overs-a-side game.
It all began with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers going all guns blazing against Varun Aaron in the first over of the game. RCB raced away to 23 runs off that over, and looked in a dangerous position with four more overs to go.
Gopal, who bowled the second over didn’t get off to a promising start as Kohli smashed a six and a four off the first two deliveries. Gopal had fond memories from the last time we met RCB, when he dismissed both Kohli and ABD in quick succession. We were hoping for something similar this time around to turn the tables for Rajasthan Royals.
Gopal finally broke through, as he had Kohli mistiming a swing and Livingstone caught a simple catch at long on. On the next delivery, AB de Villiers who had crossed over on the previous ball, tried to heave Gopal over the fence. He miscued the ball high in the air, and got caught beyond the ring at cover.
Marcus Stoinis walked out to face the hat-trick ball. Gopal bowled a flat delivery around off, and Stoinis took it on. He looked to bludgeon it down the ground, but didn’t get hold of it, mistiming it to Smith at mid off. Shreyas Gopal had the elusive hat-trick, the second of the season after Sam Curran got one against Delhi Capitals. Gopal ran all the way towards Livingstone and jumped up, hugging the Englishman. Celebrations went wild as Sheyas enjoyed every moment of the feat on his home-ground.
Riyan Parag bowled a tidy third over, conceding just 10 runs. He also got the wicket of Gurkeerat Singh off the fifth ball. Jaydev Unadkat pulled out his bag of tricks to dismiss Parthiv Patel and conceded just 9 runs in the fourth.
Oshane Thomas didn’t begin the final over on a good note, bowling a no-ball. However, he redeemed himself with two wickets in the over, those of Klaasen and Negi and gave away just 6 runs apart from a couple of byes. RCB had set a target of 63 runs off 5 overs for Rajasthan Royals.
The visitors sent in Sanju Samson to open with Liam Livingstone. Samson took the attack to Umesh Yadav by lofting him for a majestic six deep over mid-wicket. He then hit a boundary off the next ball to get things going further. However, Yadav came back well towards the second half of his over, finishing with just 10 runs off it.
The second over took similar shape as the first one, as Livingstone, like Samson, could pick up a four and a six. The bowler, Nitin Saini came back well, giving away just 12 runs in the over.
The third over proved to be more fruitful for the Royals, as Samson began the over with a sweet pull over mid-wicket for a biggie. After a few good balls, Samson picked up another six over long on and edged the final ball of the over for a boundary to third man. The Royals were well placed at 40/0 at the end of three overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal came on to bowl the fourth and got Samson to mistime one high up in the air, for Negi to settle under. Right at the stroke of that wicket, rain came back to put an end to what was turning into a wonderful finish to a truncated game.
The Royals go back with one point, moving to the fifth spot on the table. Yes, we are disheartened that we couldn’t play out the entire game due to the weather, but we have one more game to go and want to win it as well. Steve Smith will head to Australia, and won’t be part of the game against Delhi Capitals. We keep our heads up and focus on Saturday from here. Halla Bol!