Shardul Thakur | Mumbai Ranji team |
Photo by Prashant Bhoot - Sportzpics - IPL

On Saturday, when Zaheer Khan decided to bat first in a night game at Feroz Shah Kotla, everyone was shocked, as he came up with a changed thinking.

Winning the toss and fielding first have been the main weapon for every team but, in the end, it was the experience of Zaheer that worked and Delhi won.

On Sunday, RCB won the toss and decided to bowl first in the same conditions like Delhi. Small ground, hot weather and in the end we all saw the result and the lack of experience in Virat Kohli’s captaincy as well.

This year’s IPL has had shown different results, as bowling first has not guaranteed success to the team anymore, one of the instances which we saw just now as RCB lost against Pune by a margin of 27 runs. a game in which RCB never showed that they have a chance of winning the game.

In the hunt to a total of 162, opening the innings with Mandeep Singh, Virat Kohli could have been the first wicket of Shardul Thakur but Manoj Tiwary dropped the RCB skipper at slips on 11.

However, Thakur was rewarded for his bowling efforts as Mandeep Singh edged one to keeper MS Dhoni who collected the ball safely. Mandeep returned back without troubling the scorers with a duck alongside his name.

Both AB de Villiers and Kohli then rowed the team’s boat ahead. They had a neat start to their partnership and once it looked like these two might get the job done for the team but a wicket of Virat Kohli broke this dream.

The focus then solely shifted on ABD, who did entertain the fans but a quick job behind the stumps with his safe pair of hands from MS Dhoni meant that de Villiers was stumped and back in the pavilion.

The run rate at which RCB was batting had already slowed down since the dismissal of Kohli and this wicket just flattened their batting line-up and till the time of Jadhav’s dismissal, RCB’s score was 90 in 14.5 overs. The hosts needed 70 runs to win the game in the last five overs at a run-rate are off 14 per over.

They needed some magic on the field to win the game and in the end, by no surprise, Rising Pune Supergiant bagged the game safely by a margin of 27 runs.

The script to win was written in the first half hour of the game when Pune kicked off the day with a dream partnership between statemates Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi. They both accelerated the batting rate quite well after settling themselves in the first two overs of the game.

At the end of the fifth over, Pune had already touched the fifty run mark and was on the way to a big score with both the batsmen going the bang-bang mode. However, a double jitter followed and both the openers left the crease.

This did not have an impact run rate, as MS Dhoni and Steven Smith kept it high. Both the experienced batsmen were hitting occasional boundaries and kept the scoreboard ticking. In the midst, Dhoni stole the show with a huge six off Yuzvendra Chahal that went out on to settle on the top of the roof.

The hopes of Pune to build up a good total suffered a blow when they lost four wickets in quick succession, including that of MS Dhoni and Steven Smith. At that stage, it looked like the team might not be able to get past even 150 but then came Manoj Towery show, who gave a finishing touch to the innings.

Tiwary came in the 18th over and till the start of the penultimate over, had only played one ball. He welcomed Shane Watson, who came into ball 19th over, with a four followed by two more fours and a six to finish the over.

He fetched himself 19 runs off the over to surge the run-rate in the later part. A six on the second last delivery of the final over from his bat meant that Pune touches the 160 run mark, which proved to be a winning total in the end.

Brief Score: Rising Pune Supergiant 161/8 (Rahul Tripathi 31, Ajinkya Rahane 30, Manoj Tiwary 28; Adam Milne 2-27) defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore 134/9 (AB de Villiers 29, Virat Kohli 28; Ben Stokes 3-18, Shardul Thakur 3-35) by 27 runs in Bangalore.

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