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Boult, Ashwin, Avesh Extinguish RCB Hopes

May 23, 2024 08:37 IST
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IMAGE: The Rajasthan Royals bowlers put up a clinical display against Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Photographs: BCCI

In a tournament dominated by the batters, the bowlers played a crucial role in the Eliminator as Rajasthan Royals ended Royal Challengers Bengaluru's campaign in the ongoing Indian Premier League season.

The Royals entered the knockout match on the back of four losses and a washed out game. Meanwhile, a resurgent RCB, marched into the playoffs with six wins on the trot, including a morale-boosting win over Chennai Super Kings in their final league game.

But Royals stepped up in the knockout match to end RCB's dream of lifting their maiden IPL trophy, handing the Bengaluru team a four wicket loss.

While Trent Boult dazzled with the new ball, R Ashwin and Avesh Khan handed RR the crucial breakthroughs to keep Challengers to a defendable score.

In reply, though Mohammed Siraj bowled one excellent over to lift RCB's hopes, the inaugural champs fended off the RCB bowlers to chase down the target with an over to spare.

The bowlers who stood out in the Eliminator at the Narendra Modi stadium on Wednesday...


Trent Boult

Boult's exceptional bowling display (4-0-16-1) in the Powerplay set the tone for Royals' bowling attack in their Eliminator clash against RCB.

His opening spell of just 3 overs conceded a mere 6 runs and crucially included the wicket of RCB Skipper Faf du Plessis.

Boult's mastery lay in his pinpoint control. He offered no width to the RCB openers, making it difficult for them to score freely. Even deliveries with fuller length lacked scoring opportunities for the batsmen.

This disciplined bowling not only restricted runs but also created pressure, leading to the first breakthrough thanks to a brilliant catch by Rovman Powell off Boult's bowling.

Boult's masterful display effectively silenced the RCB top order, setting the tone for a dominant Rajasthan Royals bowling performance.

Ravichandran Ashwin

After Rajasthan Royals kept the run rate tight in the Powerplay, they unleashed their spin weapon -- Ravichandran Ashwin.

Ashwin responded magnificently, weaving a spell of control and stinginess. He conceded a mere 19 runs in his four overs, never allowing the RCB batsmen any easy scoring opportunities.

This relentless pressure eventually yielded a double-wicket reward in his final over. Cameron Green, who had briefly threatened to break free with a six and a four off Ashwin, fell victim to his own aggression. Green mistimed a slog in the 13th over, sending the ball skyward. Rovman Powell, positioned perfectly at deep cover, took a comfortable catch to end Green's innings.

With the score still at a precarious position, Ashwin wasn't done yet. The very next delivery saw the in-form Glenn Maxwell succumb to his bowling. Maxwell, struggling for runs throughout the tournament, hit a simple catch to Dhruv Jurel, leaving RCB in a precarious position.

Ashwin's crucial wickets effectively choked the RCB scoring momentum and put the Royals firmly in control.

Avesh Khan

Avesh Khan's spell (3/44) started shaky, leaking runs in his first two overs (30 runs). However, he displayed remarkable resilience, coming back strong in the death overs. The Royals tightened the noose, conceding only 47 runs in the last five, effectively denying RCB the late flourish they desperately needed.

Avesh spearheaded this fightback, particularly in the crucial 19th over. First, he exposed a loose shot from Mahipal Lomror, who skied the ball for a simple dismissal by Powell at deep cover.

But Avesh wasn't finished yet. He followed it up with another wicket. A well-directed short delivery found Dinesh Karthik's glove, resulting in a top edge. Jaiswal, positioned perfectly at cover, completed a comfortable catch.

These two crucial wickets by Avesh in the 19th over significantly ramped up the pressure on RCB.

Mohammed Siraj

With an under-par score on the board, the RCB bowlers struggled to restrict the Royals. Despite the occasional wicket, the scales were tilted in Rajasthan's favour before Siraj's brilliant over gave the Challengers some home.

Sharing the new ball with Swapnil Singh, Siraj began his spell with a tidy over as he kept the RR openers in check, giving away just four runs. But in his second and third over, Siraj was taken to the cleaners as he leaked 13 and 11 runs respectively.

He brought RCB back into the game with a brilliant over in the death, conceding just six runs and picking up two wickets. With Royals needing 19 off 18, the inaugural champs were well in control of the match.

But as Ravi Shastri said in the commentator's box, 'It takes a two-wicket over to change the game'. And Siraj bowled exactly that in the 18th over. After getting the over underway with a single and two wides, Siraj picked up the big wicket of Riyan Parag with a sizzling 139.6 kph full delivery that crashed into the stumps, sending Parag back for 36 off 26.

Siraj again struck on the final ball of the over to remove the hard-hitting Shimron Hetmyer. Siraj's strike breathed life back into the RCB players. Rovman Powell ended RCB's hopes in the next over, hammering Lockie Ferguson to take RR home to a four wicket win.

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