Rising Pune Supergiant put an end to their three-match losing streak when they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 27 runs on Sunday evening. After being asked to bat first, RPS did well to reach 161-8 and then restricted the hosts to 134-9.
RPS were provided an excellent start by AjinkyaRahane – who was playing his 100th IPL match – and Rahul Tripathi; the opening pair started with a flurry of boundaries as they brought up 50 in five overs. The pair took their foot off the accelerator after the field restrictions were relaxed, and stretched their partnership to 63. In the eighth over, the stand was broken when Rahane did not pick Samuel Badree’s googly and was castled.
As has happened so often in the past, when a flourishing partnership is broken, both partners are dismissed in a short space of one another. On this occasion, Tripathi was dismissed four deliveries later – courtesy a stunning catch by ViratKohli; he made 31 – which eventually turned out to be the highest score of the match.
RPS, despite having captain Steven Smith and the dangerous MS Dhoni at the crease, struggled for momentum thereafter; boundaries were hard to come by, and therefore both batsmen switched to looking for the singles regularly. Dhoni reached a career milestone; when he reached 23, he took his career runs aggregate to 24000. The third wicket pair added 58, but yet again in the innings, both batsmen were dismissed off successive deliveries; Dhoni was bowled by Shane Watson, while Smith was castled by SreenathAravind.
It was only a cameo by ManojTiwary, who struck two sixes and three boundaries, in his 11-ball 27, that took RPS past the 150-run mark and eventually to 161-8.
For RCB, Adam Milne – playing his first game of the season – returned with impressive figures of 2-27, while Aravind too returned respectable figures of 2-29. Samuel Badree, Watson and Pawan Negi were the other wicket-takers.
ViratKohli and AB de Villiers played a few crisp strokes before they were dismissed for 28 and 29 respectively. Both batsmen were dismissed within the eleventh over, and thereafter none of the batsmen really came to grips with the slowness of the surface. One perhaps felt the batsmen perhaps missed a trick by not attempting to force the pace in the middle overs; there was a period of about ten overs in the middle when RCB only picked up one boundary.
The required run rate was mounting rapidly, and eventually, the batsmen had to go for the big hits, which resulted in their dismissals. The RCB middle order collapsed, and the hosts eventually finished their twenty overs at 134-9.
Steven Smith used his resources very intelligently, and his bowlers too used change of pace smartly on a pitch that unusually slowed down as the night set in. Ben Stokes and Shardul Thakur finished with career-best figures, while JaydevUnadkat returned with figures of 2-25.
Rising Pune Supergiant: 161-8 (Rahul Tripathi 31, AjinkyaRahane 30, Adam Milne 2-27, S Aravind 2-29)
beat Royal Challengers Bangalore: 134-9 (AB de Villiers 29, ViratKohli 28, Shardul Thakur 3-35, Ben Stokes 3-18) by 27 runs
Man of the Match: Ben Stokes