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IPL 2019: Virat Kohli looks on bright side after Shreyas Gopal spins Rajasthan to victory over Bangalore

Royals register first victory of season as leg-spinner takes three Royal Challengers wickets in Jaipur

Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, centre, celebrates after dismissing Virat Kohli in Jaipur on Tuesday. Money Sharma / AFP
Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, centre, celebrates after dismissing Virat Kohli in Jaipur on Tuesday. Money Sharma / AFP

In what promised to be a pitched battle between the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament’s basement sides on Tuesday night, Royal Challengers Bangalore ended up being beaten by one of their own – in a manner of speaking.

It required Shreyas Gopal, a Bangalore-born player, to send the Royal Challengers crashing to their fourth defeat of Season 12 as Rajasthan Royals, Gopal’s adopted side, celebrated their first win.

The leg-spinner took three wickets for just 12 runs from his four-over quota as Rajasthan limited the visitors to 158-4 en route to a seven-wicket victory in Jaipur.

Gopal accounted for the wickets of captain Virat Kohli (23), AB de Villiers (13) and Shimron Hetmyer (1) – no mean feat for any bowler let alone a 25-year-old with no international experience.

The timing of the dismissals was key, too, especially that of Kohli as Bangalore made a strong start by scoring 49 runs in less than seven overs.

Gopal, who has taken 272 wickets for state team Karnataka since making his first-class debut more than five years ago, had Bangalore on the ropes at 73-3.

But veteran wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, Kohli’s opening partner, scored 67, including a six and nine fours, during his 41-ball knock. The left-hander struck a 53-run stand with Marcus Stoinis (31) before being caught by Ajinkya Rahane off the bowling of fast bowler Jofra Archer.

A few lusty blows from Moeen Ali helped the Royal Challengers to a respectable total – but one that proved not enough as the hosts eked out a win with one ball to spare.

Like Bangalore, Rajasthan sent out their wicketkeeper-batsman to open the innings as well. Jos Buttler, who scored a fifty in Rajasthan’s IPL 2019 opener against Kings XI Punjab before being controversially ‘Mankaded’ by Ravichandran Ashwin, hit a superb 59 off 43 balls, including a six and eight fours.

The right-hander enjoyed fruitful partnerships with captain Rahane (22) and Steve Smith (38) – worth 60 and 43 runs respectively – before being caught by Stoinis off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal.

Leg-spinner Chahal was the pick of the Bangalore bowlers, taking 2-17 from his four overs to be handed the Purple Cap given to the highest wicket-taker of the season.

Smith, though, was caught by Umesh Yadav off Mohammed Siraj’s bowling on the last ball of the penultimate over with five runs to get. Rahul Tripathi (34) and Ben Stokes (1) guided the hosts home with the former pulling fast bowler Umesh for six off the second-last delivery.

Kohli conceded Bangalore, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table, did not get enough runs on the board.

“I thought 160 was competitive, but with the dew factor, 15 runs more would’ve been more challenging. We were 15-20 short,” he said.

The India captain, however, took heart from the loss, saying: “Today, we were more competitive. We have to keep believing that we can turn things around.”

Bangalore and Rajasthan both host Kolkata Knight Riders next, on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Updated: April 2, 2019 10:58 PM



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