So, that is game number 53, done and dusted. BLR's chances as well. Another season which flattered to deceive. They were good in patches but the patches came together too late. RAJ on the other hand are still breathing. An MUM loss and CHN avoiding a drubbing will help them eke out a top four finish. But a shellacking for KOL is what they can pray for as well. That is where we are headed to. Switch tabs to catch game number 54. This is Kumar Abhisekh Das signing off on behalf of Rishi Roy, Abhinand, Nikhil, Mr. S and Naga.
Shreyas Gopal: Obviously feels great. We knew this game was a pressure game for us. Actually both the teams. It feels even better that the team needed me and I performed. I would not have been feeling half as better had the team lost. You can never have a set plan for someone like ABD. So, I was a bit shocked. There was a little bit of help from the wicket. There was a little bit of spin. I kept it at the wickets and relied on my googly and flipper as much as I could. We are like brothers now (when asked about Ish Sodhi). I keep picking his brains. He is wonderful with the way he puts in an effort with every ball that he bowls. There are a lot of things that I can learn from him.
Ajinkya Rahane: Definitely much needed victory for us. We knew that 160 would be very difficult on this wicket. Though BLR had a very good batting line up. Credit goes to our bowlers. Under pressure, the two leggies did really well. Getting wickets in the middle overs was never easy. I think the intent was to go positive from the start. We felt Jofra at the top of the order could give us a positive start and with me at 3, Samson at 4 and Klaasen at 5 our batting order would have looked deeper. It was important to play good cricket. This evening was very special. It was more about focusing on the things that we could control. Klaasen's innings was really good and Rahul's innings at the top was magnificent. It is important to enjoy this win and stay calm.
Virat Kohli, BLR captain: "Yeah, it was a strange one. We were in a great position. 75/1, and the way we were bundled out wasn't ideal. Someone like AB who can hit fours and sixes was knocking it around so the others didn't support him and apply themselves properly. We needed more smart decision-making there. These things should be repeated by 5-6 guys in a row. We wanted to strengthen the middle-order which hasn't happened, it hasn't been our strength and we need to do that going into the next few seasons. We need to be smarter with composing our team. The responsibility cannot be taken up only by AB all the time. He certainly scored runs, but others need to contribute around him, and didn't show enough composure. There were some new players who did well. Umesh bowled extremely well with the new ball, Chahal was great, Siraj and Moeen contributed too, so plenty of positives to take into the next season. However, after cruising at 75/1 it was disappointing that we couldn't finish it off well. I would like to wish all the other teams the best of luck for the remainder of the competition."
Kohli did sport a smile as he came in to shake hands with the players but I am sure he is hurting a lot. This was certainly not something that BLR had planned for. Before the game, almost everyone was talking about how BLR can better their run rate. But that was a far cry if you look at in hindsight. We all know who the Man of the Match is! Don't we? But then Tripathi was the one who gave RAJ the par score, or may be a little more, on a wicket which played as RAJ had expected it to.
The Karnataka boys have derailed BLR's campaign here. Gowtham started it off by removing Kohli and Gopal just took it forward with a dream spell. He picked up a four-fer and BLR could never recover. Gowtham ended BLR's miseries by taking the final catch as well. BLR are out of the playoffs. From 75 for 1 to being out all-out for 134. RAJ's skipper Rahane came up with some smart moves but none smarter than his decision to bat first. The wicket took a lot of turn in the second innings and batting second was never easy. ABD waged a lone battle but never got any support from others.
Unadkat to Siraj, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Yuzvendra Chahal, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Unadkat to Southee, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Jaydev Unadkat [2.0-0-16-0] is back into the attack
Jofra Archer [2.0-0-28-0] is back into the attack
Archer is back to knock the remaining two.
Mohammed Siraj, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Laughlin to U Yadav, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Umesh Yadav, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Laughlin to Sarfaraz Khan, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Ben Laughlin [1.0-0-10-0] is back into the attack
Three stumpings in an inngs:MS Dhoni v KOL, Chennai, 2010MS Dhoni v KOL, Chennai, 2011R Uthappa v PUNE, Pune, 2017H KLAASEN v BLR, Jaipur, 2018 *
This is just the time for Sarfaraz Khan to prove his worth. Meanwhile, Laughlin has a word with Unadkat and makes him aware of the fact that Sarf loves to play the scoop. And accordingly fine leg moves to a long-stop
Jaydev Unadkat [1.0-0-10-0] is back into the attack
Best figures by uncapped Indians in T20 League:5/14 A Rajpoot v HYD, Hybd, 20184/13 A Chandilla v PUNE, Jaipur, 20124/14 S Aravind v PUN, Bengaluru, 20114/15 R Bhatia v HYD, Durban, 20094/16 S GOPAL*
Time-out. Shreyas Gopal: 4-0-16-4. Last 5 overs and we have seen 5 wickets going down. The bargain has been only 24 runs. BLR have gifted this game away. That won't be fair. Rather, RAJ are being led by an inspirational Rahane who has his leggies bowling their hearts out. This is RAJ's game to lose. A bigger win for RAJ will help.
Tim Southee, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Shreyas Gopal to de Villiers, THAT'S OUT!! Stumped!!
Sarfaraz Khan, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Ish Sodhi to de Grandhomme, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Colin de Grandhomme, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Shreyas Gopal to Mandeep, THAT'S OUT!! Stumped!!
Slip in for Mandeep
Mandeep Singh, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Shreyas Gopal to Moeen Ali, THAT'S OUT!! Caught&Bowled!!
Mo has come. And a leg-slip in. Interesting
Shreyas Gopal to Parthiv Patel, THAT'S OUT!! Stumped!!
Ish Sodhi, right-arm leg break, comes into the attack
Slip in for de Villiers
Shreyas Gopal, right-arm leg break, comes into the attack
Timeout. Good start from BLR despite losing Kohli in the powerplay. It is the little man Parthiv Patel who has played the aggressor and utilised the field restrictions in place. de Villiers is de Villiers. Nothing more to add. But the real test for BLR will come with the field out, spinners bowling with a softer ball with quite sizeable boundaries to back them. Have to say RAJ need to get AB out quickly if they have to any hopes of winning this.
Jaydev Unadkat, left-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Ben Laughlin, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
AB de Villiers, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Gowtham to Kohli, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Jofra Archer, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Kohli and Parthiv Patel are at the crease. Kohli is on strike. Gowtham will open the attack