Bengaluru: A late charge led by a cameo from Dhruv Jurel was not enough for Rajasthan Royals as a century stand between captain Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell set up a thrilling seven-run win for Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.
Invited to bat, Maxwell (77 off 44 balls) and du Plessis (62 off 39 balls) shared 127 runs for the third wicket from only 66 deliveries to power RCB to 189 for 9 in 20 overs.
Devdutt Padikkal (52 off 34 balls) struck his maiden fifty of the season and Yashasvi Jaiswal made 47 for a 98-run partnership for the second wicket but the Royals were lagging behind in the run chase before gaining momentum in the last five overs.
Jurel played a small cameo of 34 not out off just 16 balls (2×4; 2×6) as the Royals scored 61 runs off the last five overs, losing three wickets in the process. But they fell short by seven runs in the end, reaching to 182 for 6 in 20 overs.
The Royals needed 20 runs off the final over bowled by Harshal Patel but could score only 12.
The Royals thus suffered their third defeat in seven matches but remained at the top of the points table due to a superior net run rate (0.844).
Harshal Patel (4-0-32-3) was the pick of the RCB bowlers while David Willey (4-0-26-1) and Mohammed Siraj (4-0-39-1) also played their parts.
RCB dealt a huge blow to RR when Siraj bowled a nip-backer to beat the defence of the dangerous Jos Buttler, cleaning him up for a two-ball duck in the first over.
Having scored consistently in the last few matches, Padikkal ended his drought of a half-century as he struck one six and seven fours during his innings. Padikkal was dismissed by Willey, with Virat Kohli taking his 100th catch in the IPL.
Only two players, Suresh Raina (109 catches in 205 matches) and Kieron Pollard (103 catches in 189 matches) have taken more catches than Kohli in IPL history.
Padikkal’s opening partner Jaiswal played some spectacular strokes in the powerplay post which RR were placed at 47 for 1.
Both Padikkal and Jaiswal perished in quick succession and in that phase, RR also could not find a boundary with Willey keeping it tight.
The benefit was reaped by Patel in the 14th over, when he pegged back RR while denying Jaiswal his fifty, who hit a slow full toss straight to Kohli at long-on. Patel struck again, in the 16th over, to have Sanju Samson (22) caught by Shahbaz Ahmed with RR stumbling to 125 for 4.
Shimron Hetmyer found it tough, managing just three runs from nine balls before he was run out off a superb direct hit from Suyash Prabhudessai at extra cover.
Earlier, du Plessis and Maxwell’s century stand threatened to take RCB to a massive total before RR fought back to restrict them to 189 for 9.
Du Plessis and Maxwell had put on 115 runs from 50 balls against Lucknow Super Giants and 126 from 61 balls against Chennai Super Kings.
But RCB stuttered once the momentum was broken after the dismissal of du Plessis, run out off a brilliant direct throw from Yashasvi Jaiswal in the 14th over. The home side collapsed from 139/2 to 189/9, losing seven wickets for 50 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Du Plessis extended his overall tally to 405 runs in just seven matches with his fifth half-century — the most for any batter so far. His 39-ball knock had eight fours and two sixes.
On the other hand, Maxwell struck his third fifty of this IPL to make a 44-ball 77 (6x4s, 4x6s) but the rest of the RCB batters squandered the platform set up brilliantly by their top order. Dinesh Karthik (11) was the only other RCB batter to score in double digits.
Royals bowlers were particularly impressive in the final five overs as they pulled things back with a disciplined effort, while also affecting two run-outs.
None of the Royals bowlers could, however, trouble either Maxwell or du Plessis, who batted with utmost ease.
The two batters came together when RCB were put in a spot of bother by Royals pacer Trent Boult (2/41), who rocked them early twice in his first two overs.
Boult gave a perfect start to RR when he pinned Virat Kohli (0) in front of the wickets for the first breakthrough on the first ball of the game, which was his 100th overall wicket in IPL.