Rajasthan Royals (RR) registered their second consecutive defeat in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in progress in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Led by Steve Smith, the Royals recorded an 8-wicket defeat at the hands of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
After opting to bat first, the Men in Pink posted 154 runs in 20 overs; credits to a young Mahipal Lomror (47, 39b) for his gutsy innings at a time when the wickets kept falling at the start of the contest.
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Jos Buttler (22, 12b) gave the Royals’ just the kind of start they would have wanted but before he could end up with a big score, he was struck caught in slip by Devdutt Padikkal on Navdeep Saini’s delivery.
Skipper Steve Smith (5) and Sanju Samson (4), who were the core contributors to the Royals’ conquests in the initial two games, couldn’t establish a concrete foundation and that to a large extent, affected the outcome of the game against the Virat Kohli led unit.
We could have done a lot better: Steve Smith
Talking about the loss, Steve Smith said that they didn’t put plenty of runs which and though it was a good batting track, the fall of wickets hurt them as they failed to get hold of a partnership.
“We could have done a lot better. Probably didn’t get enough runs on the board. It was a good wicket, we kept losing wickets throughout and couldn’t get a partnership together early on. I thought Jofra bowled exceptionally well again, the leggies bowled reasonably well but just didn’t have enough on the board,” said Smith in the post-match presentation.
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The 31-year-old Sydney-born added that although they possess the batting depth in their lineup with Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, and Tom Curran, it is the inability of the top-order trio to contribute to the total that has cost them the last two matches.
“Our top three should be doing the job a lot more, in the last two games we haven’t got going and that has cost us. We have to take it a little bit deeper and then we have enough power, we have seen what Tewatia can do, Jofra and Tom Curran as well.”
Coming in to bat at No.5 when the score read 41/2 in 4.1 overs, Mahipal Lomror played a composed knock and ensured that the runs pour in at regular intervals. His 39-ball 47 (1 four, 3 sixes) witnessed him stitching two crucial partnerships from the Royals’ perspective – first with Robin Uthappa for 39 runs, and later a 35-run stand with Riyan Parag.
Smith lauded the 20-year-old’s effort, having played such a mature knock when at a crunch moment in the game.
“He played nice, under pressure having lost quite a few wickets and he was able to build throughout the middle, I thought he played a really mature innings,” said Smith.
The Aussie skipper highlighted how the climate and the ground size at Sheikh Zayed Stadium can take a toll on players. He even added that there are a few areas they need to work on for the upcoming games.
“There are few areas we have to work on, we will go back and have a look at it. Pretty hot. This is a sort of ground when you run a hard two you take a little bit longer to get your oxygen back. It is warm but that is just part of playing the game, we have to put up with it and do the best we can.”
Riding on the knocks from opener Devdutt Padikkal (63) and skipper Virat Kohli (72*), Royal Challengers Bangalore chased 155 at the loss of 8-wickets, scoring their third win of the season.
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In the bowling department, pacer Jofra Archer was the most effective as he conceded mere 20 runs in 4 overs and grabbed Aaron Finch’s wicket.
In the points table, Rajasthan Royals are now placed at the 6th spot 2 wins in 4 matches, an NRR of -0.317, and 4 points to their name.
Steve Smith & Co. will be taking on the four-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on October 6 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi.