Royal Challengers Bangalore turn on the IPL style to thrash Rajasthan

South Africa v West Indies - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

Amidst all the glamour of the IPL, it is a minor curiosity that Royal Challengers Bangalore, its most glamorous franchise, has yet to win the competition. But this thrashing of Rajasthan Royals, the margin a monstrous 71 runs, earned them a place in Friday’s eliminator against Chennai Super Kings; few will confidently bet against them.

And yet, though Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat, Bangalore started slowly. Their fearsome, fabled top three, responsible for 70 per cent of their runs in this year’s tournament, looked unlikely to deliver when, with just 46 runs on the board and 7.3 overs already bowled, Chris Gayle and Kohli were back in the hutch and AB de Villiers struggling to find his range. This was due in significant aspect to some excellent bowling, Steve Smith rotating his attack near enough every over to prevent the batsmen from settling.

But young Mandeep Singh, signed from Kings XI Punjab, showed composure and class to keep the scoreboard moving while De Villiers settled, his 54 not out coming from just 34 balls and comprising seven fours and two sixes. In the early stages of their time together, the plan was to ensure a score of 140 while aiming for 150 on what was a tricky track, but, from 94-2 at the end of the 14th over, they exploded. With the bionic eye and devastating power that is somehow both startling and predictable, De Villiers set about the bowling to move from 17 to 66; when he was finally dismissed in the 19th over, the partnership was worth 113 and the score stood at 159.

Nor did that signal the end of the assault. Mandeep brought up his 50 – the first this season scored by an RCB player not named Gayle, Kohli or De Villiers – and Dinesh Karthik smashed his first ball for six. To win, the Royals would require 181.

Despite a fearsome batting order, they never got close. Shane Watson fell in the second over, and, though Ajinkya Rahane hung around until the 14th – he top-scored with 42 – around him, wickets fell constantly as the run rate climbed ever higher. No Bangalore bowler finished with an economy rate of greater than 8.00, and that was only David Wiese; Yuzvendra Chahal, Sreenath Aravind and Harshal Patel were at 5.00, and Mitchell Starc at 5.50.

Rajasthan were dismissed for just 109 and with six balls still remaining, outplayed in every aspect of the game. It seems inconceivable that Friday’s semi-final and Sunday’s final will be anything but a treat.

Read more:

Short URL: