Powerful Bangalore outclass Rajasthan
Royal Challengers Bangalore 151 for 1 (Gayle 70*) beat Rajasthan Royals 146 for 6 (Dravid 37, Watson 34, Aravind 3-34) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
For the second successive match, Rajasthan Royals played on a true surface that did not suit them, and yet again, they were outclassed by a side that was clearly superior in all departments. Their batsmen, used to modest chases on sluggish tracks, were found wanting against a varied Royal Challengers Bangalore attack led by the impressive S Aravind. Their thin bowling resources proved to be expectedly insufficient against the might of Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Virat Kohli. Their fielders dropped whatever chances they had of even hoping to scratch at the surface of a comeback.
The nine-wicket thumping widened the gap between Rajasthan and the top four teams, took Bangalore to within a win of making the play-offs, and left the home side needing a miracle.
The story of the match was encapsulated in the approach of each side's openers. Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson motored to 73 in 57 deliveries before falling in the space of three deliveries to Aravind. Dilshan and Gayle flew to 68 off 40 and it took a sharp take on the deep midwicket boundary by Ross Taylor to prolong the game.
The assault by Dilshan and Gayle left the Jaipur crowd so stunned that noise was conspicuous by its absence for the remainder of the chase. Even Gayle seemed to be lulled into periods of relative inactivity, before enough deliveries found the middle of his bat in another big innings that took him to within 27 runs of claiming the orange cap from Virender Sehwag.
Bangalore had already galloped to 38 when Shane Warne dropped Gayle at mid-off, and that was as close as Rajasthan came to making a breakthrough. The first four overs all yielded 10 runs or more, Dilshan and Gayle taking turns to dismantle an attack that had already been sold short by its misfiring batsmen.
Setting a stiff target was Rajasthan's only hope on a flat pitch with a short boundary, but Aravind continued his impressive performance in this IPL, coming back from an expensive beginning with three crucial wickets that foiled the home side's plans of a late charge after a solid, if unspectacular, start.
Dravid and Watson had put on 73 when Aravind dismissed both in three deliveries in the 10th over. He then came back to remove Johan Botha in the 17th over as Rajasthan lost whatever little steam they had managed to build up.
Rajasthan look much better when they are chasing a modest total on a tough pitch than when they are trying to set a big target on a batting surface. The way Dravid and Watson batted showed just why that is true. On a pitch that could not have been more different from the slow tracks that Jaipur has seen, crisp shots mostly found the fielders.
Dravid hit six boundaries and Watson muscled a couple of sixes but there was always the feeling that they could have gone harder, considering the powerful batting line-up they were up against. Despite being in control throughout, Dravid played out 13 dot balls; Watson outdid him with 17.
Watson tried to target Aravind, a mis-hit just beat deep midwicket but the next ball was smacked over the sightscreen. It was in Aravind's third over that Bangalore wrested control. Watson went hard at a full delivery but only found AB de Villiers - Arun Karthik had replaced him behind the stumps today - on the wide long-off boundary. Two deliveries later, Dravid fell to another soft dismissal, hitting one straight back to Aravind.
Ajinkya Rahane carried on from his half-century in the previous game, but Johan Botha took off after reverse-sweeping to point and Rahane had to sacrifice his wicket with a needless run-out. Botha could not do much to make up for his error as Aravind found the outside edge with one that moved away for Arun Karthik to take the chance.
At 124 for 4 with three overs to go, Rajasthan needed some frenetic hitting from Ross Taylor and Ashok Menaria, but they fell in successive overs.
Against Gayle and Dilshan, 146 was not only inadequate, it set up what became a no-a contest despite Shane Warne trying his best with dipping legbreaks and flat sliders in his last IPL match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo