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RCB's IPL dreams shattered by resilient RR in thrilling Eliminator

RCB's IPL dreams shattered by resilient RR in thrilling Eliminator

By BD Narayankar
Ahmedabad, May 23 (UNI) The Narendra Modi Stadium bore witness to a high-stakes IPL Eliminator on Wednesday night that ended in heartbreak for Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) fans, as their team stumbled in a crucial match against Rajasthan Royals (RR).
The electrifying atmosphere, charged with the chants of 'Ee Sala Cup Namde,' slowly transitioned into celebrations by RR supporters as RCB’s quest for IPL glory was once again thwarted.
The match encapsulated RCB’s season — flashes of brilliance marred by early errors, particularly in fielding.
RCB, defending a target of 173, saw RR start their chase strongly with Tom Kohler-Cadmore (20 off 15) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (45 off 30, 8x4s) laying a solid foundation. Despite losing Kohler-Cadmore, captain Sanju Samson (17 off 13) joined Jaiswal to form a steady partnership, adding 35 runs and positioning RR favorably.
However, the tide turned with a remarkable bowling spell from Cameron Green (1/28). His performance, highlighted by the stumping of Samson and a sharp run-out by Virat Kohli, swung the momentum back to RCB.
As the match entered the final six overs, RR required 58 runs, setting the stage for a tense finish.
Riyan Parag, continuing his stellar season, emerged as the game-changer. Targeting Green, he struck a six and a four, scoring a crucial 36 off 26 balls (2 boundaries, 2 sixes). His efforts, supported by Shimron Hetmyer (26 off 14, 3x4s, 1x6), reduced the required rate to a run a ball.
Though both batsmen were dismissed before the finish, they had brought RR tantalisingly close to victory. In the end, Rovman Powell’s composed knock (16 not out off 8 balls, 2 boundaries, 1 six) sealed the win for RR, demonstrating their resilience and strategic depth.
Earlier, RR’s bowlers set the tone by restricting RCB to 172. Veteran pacer Trent Boult’s exceptional opening spell (3 overs, 6 runs, 1 wicket) dismantled RCB’s plans, notably dismissing Faf du Plessis (17 off 14, 2x4s, 1x6) and unsettling the top order.
Transitioning seamlessly from pace to spin, RR introduced Ravichandran Ashwin, whose spell (2/19) was a masterclass in containment and control. Ashwin’s variations and tight lines choked the run flow, leading to vital breakthroughs and building relentless pressure on RCB’s batsmen.
As the innings progressed towards the death overs, RCB sought to accelerate, but Avesh Khan, despite a costly start (30 runs in initial overs), staged a remarkable comeback. His precise execution of yorkers and slower balls in the final overs (conceding just 17 runs) played a crucial role in curbing RCB’s late surge, showcasing his tactical acumen and mental resilience.
The synergy among RR’s bowlers was evident, with each player complementing the other’s efforts. Boult’s early breakthroughs, Ashwin’s middle-overs stranglehold, and Avesh’s death-over heroics, combined with sharp fielding, illustrated a comprehensive bowling display. Restricting RCB’s formidable lineup to 172 was no small feat and underscored the disciplined execution of their game plan.
With the bowlers delivering a standout performance, the responsibility shifted to RR’s batsmen to chase down the target of 173. The dew factor, favouring the chasing team in evening games at Ahmedabad, provided an additional advantage, which RR capitalised on to keep their playoff dreams alive.
As RCB reflect on another missed opportunity, Rajasthan Royals march on, their victory a testament to their strategic brilliance and unwavering resolve. They now fly to Chennai for the second IPL Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 24.

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