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13th Match (N), Wankhede, April 05, 2022, Indian Premier League
(19.1/20 ov, T:170) 173/6

RCB won by 4 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)

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44* (23)
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88.33 ptsImpact List

Karthik and Shahbaz inspire Royal Challengers' scrappy win

Hasaranga, Harshal and Willey also play a part in handing Royals their first defeat of IPL 2022

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
Royal Challengers Bangalore 173 for 6 (Shahbaz 45, Karthik 44*, Chahal 2-15) beat Rajasthan Royals 169 for 3 (Buttler 70, Hetmyer 42*, Padikkal 37) by four wickets
A partnership for the ages between Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed dragged Royal Challengers Bangalore back to life from 87 for 5 in a chase of 170. That helped them eventually script a maiden defeat on early IPL 2022 pacesetters Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
Royals looked on course to successfully defend a modest total with the help of their new recruits, who, incidentally, were part of Royal Challengers not long ago. Yuzvendra Chahal was the evening's standout bowler with 2 for 15, and played his part in an athletic run-out of Virat Kohli, while Navdeep Saini dismissed Anuj Rawat and took a diving catch to remove Sherfane Rutherford.
It was the Rutherford wicket that brought Karthik (23-ball 44*) and Shahbaz (26-ball 45) together, and they smacked 67 runs in 5.2 overs. Karthik punished R Ashwin as he erred, especially with his lines, and Shahbaz rose to the occasion by pulling Saini and Trent Boult for sixes at the back end, and Royal Challengers completed their fifth straight win over the Royals in the IPL. It was also their second win in a row this season after opening with a loss.
A good start to the chase
Royal Challengers began their chase of 170 well, courtesy a positive start from Faf du Plessis and Rawat, but soon after the powerplay, Sanju Samson turned to Chahal. He bowled legbreaks landing on middle stump for most of his first over to du Plessis, but then dragged one outside leg to force a mis-hit down the ground. Saini then used a slower ball to trap Rawat, who nicked behind to Sanju Samson. The two ex-Royal Challengers men had struck big blows.
Kohli's battle against Chahal promised premium entertainment, but it didn't last long. Kohli, at the non-striker's end, tried to steal a single that David Willey was not interested in, and an acrobatic run-grab-and-throw from Samson to Chahal had Kohli walking back for 5. Next ball, Willey was fooled by a Chahal legbreak and was bowled. From 55 for no loss, Royal Challengers had slipped to 62 for 4 in the space of 12 balls. Rutherford's wicket not long after made it 87 for 5.
That partnership
Karthik hammered Ashwin, who up until his final over had gone for only 18. First, he walloped him through backward square-leg, then over long-on, followed by mid-off and finally third man for a 21-run over that reignited Royal Challengers' hopes. He then took a toll on Saini with three boundaries through the leg side, and then left the stage for Shahbaz.
Shahbaz had taken the back seat to reach 16 in 14 balls, before he got moving too. He struck a six and a four each off Prasidh Krishna and Boult, and even though he couldn't finish the game off, the match was practically over at the time of his dismissal.
For Karthik, it was another chance to show why he is among the most dangerous finishers in T20s. He has not yet been dismissed in the IPL, making 90 runs in 44 balls so far, and used the depth of the crease to great effect to put bowlers off their mark, maximising the area behind square on the leg side.
Royals, in fits and starts
It took a scrappy innings from Jos Buttler, some counter-punches from Devdutt Padikkal - also against his former team - and some big hits from Shimron Hetmyer to lift Royals to 169 after they were asked to bat first.
Padikkal hit two fours and two sixes in his 29-ball 37 from No. 3 after Willey had dismissed Yashasvi Jaiswal early. But he was done in by a slower ball from Harshal Patel, who finished with figures of 1 for 18 in four overs.
Wanindu Hasaranga's four overs were filled with googlies, and Samson was out to one of them cheaply. When Hetmyer walked in at 86 for 3, run-scoring was tough with Hasaranga and Harshal keeping a chokehold on the batters.
Hetmyer took seven balls to get off the mark and, by the 16th over, Royals had made only 107 with seven wickets in the bank. Buttler had faced only 36 of those deliveries and scored 39 till that point.
But the slog-overs push did finally come, with Hetmyer punishing Mohammed Siraj and Harshal in the 17th and 18th overs, and Buttler creaming back-to-back sixes off Siraj's 19th to reach his fifty in 42 balls.
Akash Deep, off whose bowling Buttler was dropped twice in one over in his first spell, then conceded three sixes in the 20th for the current Orange Cap holder to finish on 70 from 47, with Hetmyer ending unbeaten on 42 in 31 balls.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

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Over 20 • RCB 173/6

RCB won by 4 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
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