Royal Challengers Bangalore 134 for 1 (Kohli 62*, de Villiers 47*) beat Rajasthan Royals 130 for 9 (Starc 3-22, Patel 2-23, Chahal 2-25) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The most expensive bowling line-up in this IPL before today finally made a telling turnaround. Royal Challengers Bangalore had leaked runs at 9.55 runs an over in this IPL before today, but led by a fiery Mitchell Starc and ably supported by the rest, they dismantled the Rajasthan Royals' batting line-up with precision to set-up an important nine-wicket win in Ahmedabad.
The result was a boost for Royal Challengers as they broke away from Mumbai Indians at the bottom of the table and joined Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab in a slightly less-bothersome mid-table stack. But more importantly, it was a bowling reassurance they desperately needed.
Keeping Royals to 130 for 9 on a pitch that had seen a high-scoring Super Over thriller three days back demanded a speech from the captain and Virat Kohli obliged immediately at the end of the first innings. He got the team together in a huddle and gave them a quick pep talk. The confidence was visible in the batting as the big three in their batting - Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli himself - played with uncluttered minds to finish off the chase in 16.1 overs.
That swagger wasn't there at the start of the game when Royal Challengers had opted to bowl. Ajinkya Rahne, the leading run-getter this IPL, and Shane Watson opened the way they always do - a quiet dab followed by a powerful strike - as they added 30 in the first four overs without a fuss. In absence of swing, Starc's pace wasn't really making an impression - he was taken for 16 in his first two overs - but before he would come for his second spell and close the doors on Royals, a lot of work was done by the domestic bowlers.
Harshal Patel started it in his first over, beating the inside edge of Rahane's bat with a clever change of pace and trapping him front. It was followed by Yuzuvendra Chahal, Royal Challengers' leading wicket-taker, hurrying the dangerous Watson on a pull and getting him caught at the deep midwicket boundary in the next over. Watson had hit four fours and a six in his 26 and helped Royals to 46 in the sixth over, but his departure allowed the bowlers to exert smart control.
Steven Smith faced only 17 balls in the following seven overs as Royals lost three more wickets and their run rate plummeted to below seven after being at eight at the end of the Powerplay. In that period, Iqbal Abdulla ran through his overs, giving away just 28 and dismissing Deepak Hooda, Harshal and David Wiese were miserly, and even Kohli rolled his arm over. Royals just couldn't find a weak link.
Still, with Smith, Stuart Binny and James Faulkner remaining Royals would have eyed a late surge. But as Starc returned in the 18th over and got Smith to top edge his first delivery of his second spell before removing Binny in the same over, that hope dissipated quickly. The last two overs, the highlight of which was a fantastic one-handed catch by the wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik to get rid of Faulkner, brought just eight more runs and the score trickled to 130, the second-lowest by any team this IPL.