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Royal Challengers Bangalore © Gallo Images

RCB top log after easy win over RR

The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) eased their way to a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Fortress Chinnaswamy on Saturday night to go top of the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) log.

Full Scorecard: Bangalore v Rajasthan

Once again they made their seemingly easy run chase a lot harder than it should have been. Having watched Rajasthan Royals implode from a position of 97 for three to 117 all out, the Royal Challengers lost three quick wickets in three overs to increase the tension.

They started out well enough, knocking up 48 without loss in the power play, but then Tiilakaratne Dilshan, returning after injury, tried to drive with an open face off Shane Watson and edged to Dishant Yagnik behind the stumps for 25 off 22 balls. In the following over Virat Kohli, the highest scorer in this year’s competition, was bowled off a thin edge playing defensively at James Faulkner for just one.

While that may have been a surprise, it was a shock when South Africa's AB de Villiers bizarrely danced down the wicket for a big one off Watson and was spectacularly caught by Ajit Chandila at mid-off. The Challengers were under no pressure, then needing 54 off 66 balls.

But Chris Gayle reined in his normal flamboyancy and worked his way to a solid 49 off 44 with four fours and a six, supported by returning batsman Saurabh Tiwari (24 off 29).

The Royal Challengers once again took advantage of bowling first, as they have done three times in defending their unbeaten home record, and produced a brilliant performance in the field, with RP Singh (3-23) and Vinay Kumar (3-18) tearing through the batting line-up.

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In the early stages, the Royals lost wickets at crucial points, none more important than that of Rahul Dravid, who had received a tremendous welcome from what used to be his home crowd. He came to the middle when Shane Watson was dismissed for six to an athletic catch by Murali Kartik, but for 11 overs he could not get above a run-a-ball. Just when he looked as if he was about to open up, having pulled a four off Kartik’s left-arm spin, he chipped to Ravi Rampaul at long-on for 35, with five fours.

In between, Ajinkya Rahane went for 14 in the last over of the power play and Stuart Binny, who was leading the attack, was caught behind as he top-edged a short delivery from Vinay Kumar for 33, which came off 20 balls with a six and four fours.

The departure of Dravid, with the score at 97, signalled a collapse of the batting to a series of poor shots as the batsmen tried to up the pace. The following over the dangerous Brad Hodge tried to run a ball from Kumar down to third man and was caught behind.

Then RP Singh returned after an impressive tight spell of two overs for nine runs, and promptly snapped up the wickets of James Faulkner and Dishant Yagnik, both to catches by Rampaul at long-on and mid-off.

Singh added the wicket of Shaun Tait to end with the brilliant figures of 3-13, Kumar picked up his third when Sreesanth was hit plumb in front and then Rampaul rounded off an impressive performance by dismissing Siddharth Trivedi, ending with 2-19.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: CH Gayle, TM Dilshan, V Kohli (capt), AB de Villiers, SS Tiwary, KB Arun Karthik (wk), R Rampaul, R Vinay Kumar, M Kartik, RP Singh, JD Unadkat

RAJASTHAN ROYALS: AM Rahane, SR Watson, STR Binny, BJ Hodge, DH Yagnik (wk), R Dravid (capt), JP Faulkner, SW Tait, S Sreesanth, A Chandila, SK Trivedi


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