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IPL desk in Mumbai 23 April 2012 - 11:55pm IST

Report: Match 30 – RR v RCB

All-round Royal Challengers Bangalore hand Rajasthan Royals 46-run loss in their fortress

“Where is Chris Gayle?” That was the question on everyone’s mind when RCB were two wickets down and yet the Caribbean opener was nowhere to be seen. But when Tillakaratne Dilshan (76* off 58 balls) and AB de Villiers (59* off 23 balls) raked up a tornado, everyone forgot about the Gayle storm. The duo put on an unbeaten 122-run partnership off 50 balls to breach the Rajasthan Royals’ fortress by 46 runs.

The only positive that came out of RR’s unsuccessful chase of 190 runs was Rahul Dravid’s (58 off 42 balls) delightful batting. The legendary ‘Test batsman’ pushed the accelerator without taking the class off his batting. Most of his eight boundaries came off immaculately timed cover drives.

There were a couple of flicks over the midwicket and some fine pull shots as well. However, KP Appanna got the great man caught at the extra-cover in the 14th over to bring an end to the joy that was Dravid.

Appanna, the 23-year-old left-arm spinner, had the game of his life. He capped the memorable moment of dismissing a batsman of Dravid’s class with his best Twenty20 figures. One look at his other victims – the in-form Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah, and even Shreevats Goswami – and the significance of his four for 19 goes several notches higher.

When Harshal Patel got rid of Brad Hodge in the 15th over, the hosts had lost all their in-form batsmen and also the hope of a victory. No one with the exception of captain Dravid went past the 20-run mark as the Royals finished their 20 overs at 143 for seven.

Inserted in to bat by Dravid, RCB were 67 for three after 12 overs, having lost Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal and Gayle. Brad Hogg did the damage by removing Agarwal and wrapping the dangerous Gayle on his pads. Pankaj Singh provided the first breakthrough by getting the out-of-sorts Kohli out caught in the deep. Brad Hodge held two catches even as most of his teammates had an off day in the field.

Opening the batting, Dilshan took time to get into rhythm as the ball did a bit in the first six overs. But he hung on nevertheless before unleashing a streak of ‘Dilscoops’ to stun the RR bowlers. de Villiers joined the party with his now-famous reverse sweeps. While Dilshan was scoring big on the four-o-meter (he hit 10 fours and a six), de Villiers preferred to clear the ropes with heaves over midwicket, smashing five sixes and three fours. Thanks to the duo, none of RR’s bowlers could manage to keep their economy-rate below seven.

Scorecard:

Man-of-the-Match: AB de Villiers for his game-changing 59 runs (5x6; 3x4) off 23 balls.

However, in a brilliant gesture, de Villiers gave his Man-of-the-Match award to KP Appanna, who bowled exceptionally for his four for 19 in four overs.

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