Royal Challengers Bangalore emerged victorious in the Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants, and will now head into the second qualifier against the Rajasthan Royals.
RCB perhaps took the game far closer than they needed to, but still managed to pull off in the end what was a superb victory. Madhya Pradesh youngster Rajat Patidar was the undisputed hero for the RCB.
The right-hander, who only came into the side as a replacement for Luvnith Sisodia, played the innings of his life, and maybe one of the all-time great Indian Premier League knocks, scoring a magnificent 112* under humongous pressure to take his side to 207/4. The total proved to be too much for the Super Giants, thanks to some top-class bowling from Harshal Patel, and numerous pieces of sensational work in the field from Wanindu Hasaranga.
Faf du Plessis lost the toss to KL Rahul, who decided to take a leaf out of the Gujarat Titans’ book, electing to field first, similar to what the finalists did on Tuesday. The decision initially looked to have been the right one. Mohsin Khan struck right away, dismissing du Plessis for a golden duck. Virat Kohli was looking to attack from the get-go, playing a couple of big shots early on, including a superb flick off Khan.
However, he seemed far too frantic at the crease while his partner at the other end, Rajat Patidar, was doing what he has been doing throughout the tournament. This continued for a while before Kohli swiped hard at an Avesh Khan delivery which went straight to the fielder at deep third-man.
However, on either side of the Virat dismissal, Patidar looked absolutely unfazed, scoring boundaries with free will, even getting to his fifty in just 28 balls. He lost another partner in Glenn Maxwell, who was dismissed trying too many unorthodox shots, losing his wicket in the process. It was in the 14th over, when Patidar was joined by the vastly experienced Dinesh Karthik, that the RCB innings completely turned around.
While Karthik settled in, the youngster took on the Lucknow bowling. Patidar tore Ravi Bishnoi into shreds as he took the 16th over for a whopping 27 runs, followed by which Karthik also joined in. Patidar got to a historic hundred as he and DK motored on to get RCB to a total of 207/4. The Challengers scored 84 runs in the last five overs, which, in the end, was the difference between the two sides.
Mohammed Siraj began RCB’s defence with the wicket of Quinton de Kock, putting pressure on the Super Giants straight away. Lucknow’s move to promote Manan Vohra did not work for long, as the right-hander was done away with by Josh Hazlewood.
Deepak Hooda and KL Rahul, who were in the middle for the majority of the innings, let the run rate creep up to an unsustainable level before they started to play their shots. Hooda was knocked over by Hasaranga in the process, in what was a risky decision to bowl the leggie at that stage of the game in the first place.
Rahul threatened to run away with the game before Harshal Patel once again worked his magic in the death overs, piling the pressure on the Lucknow batters, before Hazlewood got rid of both Rahul and Krunal Pandya.
From that moment on, it was RCB’s game to lose, and Patel wrapped up the victory, setting up RCB’s date with the Rajasthan Royals in the second qualifier.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 207 for 4 (Patidar 112*, Karthik 37*) beat Lucknow Super Giants 193 for 6 (Rahul 79, Hooda 45, Hazlewood 3-43) by 14 runs