The Royal Challengers Bangalore insist on playing bold and on Saturday they took some bold decisions, which ultimately resulted in a 15-run victory in their first home match of the VIVO IPL 2017. The home team made four changes to their playing XI, bucked the trend at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium by opting to bat first and handed the crucial final over of the innings to a bowler who had not been used for the previous 19 overs. After being helped to 157/8 courtesy Kedar Jadhav’s fantastic 69 off 37 balls, the RCB bowlers struck at regular intervals to defend a low total.
The Delhi Daredevils will surely feel they missed out on registering an away victory after a scrappy batting performance. Young Rishabh Pant was single-handedly anchoring DD’s chase despite the regular fall of wickets and looked to take the side home when they needed 32 from 18 balls. Pant, who brought up his fifty off 33 balls, faced only three balls in the next two overs of which he still scored eight runs. With 19 needed to get off the last over, RCB captain Shane Watson went with his gut feeling and asked Pawan Negi to bowl. The decision proved right as Negi dismissed Pant off the first ball and then picked his second wicket in the over. Negi was chosen over fellow left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, who had claimed two wickets in his previous three overs.
The result may not have gone DD’s way but Pant showed terrific composure and class after overcoming a personal tragedy. While most batsmen struggled, Pant hit a six off the first ball he faced and even had answers for Tymal Mills’ deceptive slower balls.
Earlier, Watson opened the innings with Chris Gayle and hit three boundaries in the first seven balls to set the tempo. However, the early push did not result in big swing of momentum as Chris Gayle departed for just six runs. The big Jamaican got out to a full-toss from Chris Morris. The wicket was also made possible thanks to an outstanding effort in the field from Samson.
The Daredevils then upped the ante and struck at regular intervals removing one-drop Mandeep Singh (12) and Watson for 24. Pat Cummins was fast and accurate while left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem stood out. In an excellent form this home season, Nadeem was again impressive. He bowled 12 dot balls and gave away just 13 runs from his four overs.
The home team needed somebody to break the shackles and they found their man in Jadhav. The explosive batsman turned the tide after a slow start. It was the 13th over that changed the course.
Bowling his second over of the innings, Amit Mishra was smashed for two sixes and two fours and conceded 24 runs, his third most expensive over in the IPL. The big shots started flowing from Jadhav’s bat as he reached his fifty in 26 balls. Jadhav continued to attack as RCB regained some lost ground.
Just when the balance seemed to have shifted, Zaheer Khan struck on the final ball of his fourth over with a slower ball and Jadhav was holed out at mid-off in the 17th over. With Jadav back in the dugout, the Daredevils bowled well in the death, giving away just 15 in the last three overs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 157/8 (Kedar Jadhav 69, Shane Watson 24, Chris Morris 3/21, Zaheer Khan 2/31) beat Delhi Daredevils 142/9 (Rishabh Pant 57, Sam Billings 25; Pawan Negi 2/3, Billy Stanlake 2/29) by 15 runs.
Man of the Match: Kedar Jadhav