Lucknow: Aided by KL Rahul’s injury early in the match, Royal Challengers Bangalore did just enough to eke out an 18-run win over Lucknow Super Giants in a low-scoring Indian Premier League game here on Monday.
LSG skipper Rahul pulled his right thigh muscle in the second over of RCB innings while trying to stop a boundary and came out to bat only towards the end, which acted in favour of the visitors.
LSG dished out a fine bowling display to restrict RCB to a below-par 126 after being asked to bowl first.
RCB never had momentum in their innings despite the opening pair of skipper Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli sharing a 62-run partnership.
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The spin duo of Ravi Bishnoi (2/21) and veteran Amit Mishra (2/21) shone bright with the ball in the middle overs to keep a check on RCB’s scoring rate.
Later, it turned out to be a nightmarish start for LSG while chasing a modest 127-run target, as they lost their first three wickets for just 21 runs in 4.1 overs.
In Rahul’s absence, Kyle Mayers and Ayush Badoni opened the innings but failed to live up to the expectations.
While Mayers departed in the second delivery of the innings without troubling the scorers, stand-in captain Krunal Pandya played an 11-ball 14-run knock before being caught by Virat Kohli at long-off off Glenn Maxwell.
Badoni followed suit in the next over while going for big shot, caught by Kohli off Josh Hazlewood (2/15).
If that was not enough, Deepak Hooda was stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, as LSG slumped to 27 for four in 5.1 overs.
Leg-spinner Karn Sharma (2/20) then accounted for Nicholas Pooran (9) and Marcus Stoinis (13) in a span of four overs to make matters worse for LSG.
The asking rate was under control, but LSG kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Krishnappa Gowtham was the next to depart, run out after a 13-ball 23.
Ravi Bishnoi then ran himself out as LSG collapsed to 77 for eight in 14.4 overs.
Naveen-ul-Haq and Amit Mishra tried their best with a gutsy 26-run stand for the ninth wicket.
An injured Rahul came out to bat last with LSG needing 24 off eight balls, but he looked in discomfort and failed to open his account.
Earlier, Rahul failed to stop the boundary, looked in considerable pain, and limped off the field. In his absence, Pandya led the side.
The duo of du Plessis and Kohli gave RCB another good start. Both the openers failed to get going but gave a platform for the rest of the batters to take RCB to a decent score.
Kohli didn’t look at his best as he managed just three boundaries during his 30-ball 31-run knock before being stumped by Pooran off the bowling of Bishnoi.
New man in Anuj Rawat didn’t last long as he gave a catch to Mayers in the deep off the bowling of Gowtham.
Dangerman Glenn Maxwell followed suit, without troubling the scorers much, LBW to Bishnoi.
After the initial partnership between du Plessis and Kohli, the LSG bowlers pulled back the game brilliantly.
Suyash Prabhudesai didn’t last long, caught by Gowtham at mid-off off the bowling of veteran Mishra, as RCB slumped to 90 for four in 14.3 overs.
The match came to halt in the 16th over due to a steady drizzle.
After a delay of nearly 26 minutes due to rain, the match restarted with no overs being reduced.
While du Plessis batted deep he never got the desired momentum in his knock and struggled to find boundaries and sixes. He was eventually dismissed by Mishra in the 17th over, caught by Pandya as the South African tried to break the shackles.
Thereafter, Dinesh Karthik (16 off 11) tried his best to up the ante but it wasn’t enough.
Towards the end, Afghan fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq picked up two wickets in two deliveries in the 20th overs, to finish with figures of 3 for 30.