IPL 2022: Parag, Sen, Ashwin star in Rajasthan’s defense of 144; defeat Bangalore by 29 runs

IPL 2022: Parag, Sen, Ashwin star in Rajasthan’s defense of 144; defeat Bangalore by 29 runs. (Credit : IPL/twitter (not for sale)

Pune, (Asian independent) On the back of an unbeaten 56 by Riyan Parag and a clinical bowling performance led by young pacer Kuldeep Sen (4/20) and senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (3/17), Rajasthan Royals successfully defended 144 to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 29 runs at MCA Stadium on Tuesday.

For a side that relies heavily on Jos Buttler’s contributions, being at 102/6 gave Rajasthan a mighty scare of being bowled out for a paltry total. But Parag took them out of trouble, holding one end firm and exploded in the end to give his bowlers something to bowl at.

After Parag was done with his job with the bat, the bowlers took over — especially Sen and Ashwin, bowling at hard lengths and with the latter getting extra bounce off the pitch to make life difficult for Bangalore’s batters.

The plan worked as the top order couldn’t do much and the middle-order never looked like pulling off the chase. The pursuit of 145 began on a scratchy note as Virat Kohli, opening in place of Anuj Rawat, could have gone out thrice in the opening over against Trent Boult.

But he survived to strike back-to-back fours — a flick through square leg followed by a thick edge going past the keeper. Kohli’s luck ended at nine when he pulled a little early against a short ball from Prasidh Krishna and a thin edge lobbed to point.

Faf du Plessis got going with boundaries off Krishna, Boult and lofted well against Ashwin for a magnificent six. But Sen had other ideas, removing him and Glenn Maxwell in the seventh over to bring Rajasthan back in the match. While du Plessis slashed to a jumping cover, Maxwell drove away from the body and nicked to slip for a golden duck.

Bangalore’s troubles increased when Ashwin uprooted Rajat Patidar’s off-stump for grabbing his 150th IPL wicket and followed it up with Suyash Prabhudessai holing out to long-on in his next over. Things went worse as Dinesh Karthik was run-out in a big mix-up. Yuzvendra Chahal fumbled while picking up the throw at the non-striker’s end. With Karthik showing little urgency to come back quickly, Chahal managed to grab the ball and broke the bails.

Ashwin came back to pick his third wicket of the night as Shahbaz Ahmed’s slog was grabbed by a diving long-on. Wanindu Hasaranga struck some fours but was bounced out in a comfortable caught and bowled dismissal to Sen. Krishna and Sen cleaned the tail to give Rajasthan their sixth win of the tournament.

Earlier, Parag produced some eye-catchy shots, like whipping Ahmed for a six over long-on, followed by a four in the 11th over, to hammering Josh Hazlewood flat over extra cover for six in the 19th over. He tore into Harshal Patel in the final over, heaving through deep square leg for four followed by a soaring six over extra cover to raise his second IPL fifty in 29 balls.

Parag finished off the innings by muscling a pull over deep mid-wicket to get his best-ever score in IPL. The 18-run final over was a rare blip in a flawless bowling performance from Bangalore, with Hazlewood, Hasaranga and Mohammed Siraj picking two wickets each.

Rajasthan began by losing Devdutt Padikkal, trapped lbw by a full delivery from Siraj which he missed while attempting to flick and was hit plumb in front of the middle stump. Ashwin made the most out of his surprise promotion to three with back-to-back boundaries off Siraj and repeated the same manner in the fourth over.

Ashwin’s joyride ended when he top-edged a pull back to Siraj. Jos Buttler had a rare off-day and was out, cramped for pull off Hazlewood and safely pouched by mid-on diving to his left. Sanju Samson led Rajasthan’s recovery, punching Hasaranga through point for four followed by a six over cover.

Samson took a liking to Ahmed’s left-arm spin in the eighth over, hitting successive sixes over long-off. He tried to reverse sweep off Hasaranga but failed and on the very next ball in the tenth over, Samson brought out the same shot, only to see his off-stump rattled.

Daryl Mitchell’s struggle ended when he holed out to long-on on the first ball of Hazlewood’s second spell. Just like Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer endured a rare off-day when he tried to slog-sweep a googly from Hasaranga and holed out to deep mid-wicket.

Boult was sent back by a sharp catch from Virat Kohli at short mid-wicket off Patel while Krishna was run-out. It took a scintillating finishing touch from Parag for Rajasthan to amass 30 runs off the last two overs, enough to grab two points for a clinical win.

Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 144/8 in 20 overs (Riyan Parag 56 not out, Sanju Samson 27; Josh Hazlewood 2/19, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/23) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 115 all out in 19.3 overs (Faf du Plessis 23, Wanindu Hasaranga 18; Kuldeep Sen 4/20, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/17) by 29 runs

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