A contest that had seemed destined to go down the wire for quite some time, ultimately got wrapped up with 10 balls to spare. AB de Villiers single-handedly took Royal Challengers Bangalore from the jaws of defeat to a memorable victory against Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016 Qualifier 1 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium last night. A target of 159, set by the Gujarat Lions seemed too big for the home team when they were reeling at 29/5 in the 6th over. ABD, however, stunned one and all with an unbeaten knock of 79 off 47 that blew the Gujarat bowlers away after their initial phase of success.
The pitch – Not the typical Chinnaswamy variety
Throughout the match, commentators kept pointing out the fact that the track was ‘not characteristically a Chinnaswamy one’. There was some assistance for the spinners, and hitting shots on the up did not seem as easy as it generally does. Thus, while fans expected 200 plus scores from both sides with powerful batting line ups, the match became an average scoring affair with most batsmen struggling to even get going. On the other hand, the bowlers had a fun time as 16 wickets fell in 39 overs. Clearly, this turned out to be a big disappointment, as the usual fireworks of Chinnaswamy went missing. Not a good start to the IPL 2016 Playoffs, some say!
Dysfunctional middle order for Gujarat Lions hurts them again
The Suresh Raina-led outfit managed to finish at the top of the Points Table this year. However, their middle order remains as dysfunctional as it was at the start of the tournament, and this has been a cause of concern for the team. Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja have been mere additions to the batsmen’s list in the team, and Suresh Raina’s form has been thoroughly inconsistent. Yesterday too, they were let down by the middle order which could not lend adequate support to an on-fire Dwayne Smith (73 off 41). An additional 20 runs from Raina, Bravo and Jadeja could have made a huge difference to the complexion of the match.
Royal Challengers Bangalore front-runners for IPL 2016 trophy
After this crucial victory in the 1st Qualifier, RCB now seem to be destined for the coveted IPL 2016 Trophy. The Final is to be played in Bangalore, which has become a fortress for the home side. Besides, their recent run of terrific form is an asset that can push the challenging outfits on the back foot. All the three other teams – Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Kolkata Knight Riders – have struggled to seal their authority on the IPL like RCB, and this is surely going to be an element that determines the result on May 29th.