Muscat Daily

Uthappa gets go­ing Bound­aries dry up

- Sports · Cricket · Ben Stokes · Washington Sundar · Isuru Udana · Navdeep Saini · Dubai · Steve Smith · Robin Uthappa · Chris Morris · Yuzvendra Chahal · Rahul Tewatia

Robin Uthappa has al­ways been at his best as a top-order bats­man. Hav­ing tried four open­ing com­bi­na­tions al­ready this sea­son, Ra­jasthan now went to Uthappa, in his pre­ferred po­si­tion, along­side Ben Stokes.

Hav­ing strug­gled for flu­ency all sea­son, Uthappa found it, mak­ing full use of the pow­er­play field re­stric­tions. He picked up four fours in the third over of the match when Wash­ing­ton Sun­dar bowled. In the next over, he hit the medium-fast Isuru Udana for a four and a six over mid-on - an­other favourite zone - and

the Roy­als were up and run­ning.

Cha­hal intervenes

Stokes wasn't quite as flu­ent, and he fell in the last over of the pow­er­play, off a slower bouncer from Chris Mor­ris. Uthappa was still go­ing strong, though, hit­ting Navdeep Saini for a pair of fours in the seventh over, and when Sanju Sam­son greeted Yuzven­dra Cha­hal's in­tro­duc­tion with a mas­sive six over mid­wicket - which took the score to 68 for one in 8.1 overs.

Cha­hal then took out both

Uthappa and Sam­son in that same over, trusting in his flight, a wider line, and the long bound­aries in Dubai.

Chal­leng­ing tar­get

Jos But­tler found the bound­ary once each in the next two overs, but Cha­hal, Sun­dar and Navdeep Saini com­bined to give away just 17 runs from overs 12 to 14. Steven Smith pro­vided the boost to Ra­jasthan, to pick up a pair of fours off Udana and a six and an­other four - ei­ther side of But­tler's dis­missal - off Mor­ris.

He picked up three more fours in the 18th over, off Cha­hal, two via the re­v­erse-sweep. With Udana bowl­ing an ex­pen­sive 19th - Rahul Te­wa­tia got stuck into him - and Mor­ris a tight 20th, the Roy­als posted 177 for six.

Through most of their chase, the Royal Chal­lengers sim­ply got stuck. A fea­ture of their in­nings was an in­abil­ity to hit fours - they only hit five in all, com­pared to the Roy­als' 17.

Dev­dutt Padikkal strug­gled to 35 off 37 balls, with only two bound­aries, while Kohli strug­gled for flu­ency but mus­cled a pair of sixes in scor­ing 43 off 32. By the time de Vil­liers came to the crease, the Royal Chal­lengers' re­quired rate had climbed from 8.9 at the start of their chase to 10.9 at the 13-over mark.

De Vil­liers takes over

De Vil­liers' ar­rival didn't change the game im­me­di­ately. The Royal Chal­lengers didn't hit a bound­ary in his first 15 balls at the crease, partly be­cause Gur­keerat was on strike for six of them, and partly be­cause Kar­tik Tyagi, Shreyas Gopal - who had dis­missed de Vil­liers four times in five meet­ings be­fore today - and Archer weren't that easy to get away.

Then Archer bowled a rare short ball that didn't get up to an un­com­fort­able height, and de Vil­liers was away with a six swat­ted over the square leg bound­ary.

Even that didn't fully open the flood­gates, with Unad­kat and Tyagi man­ag­ing to keep Gur­keerat on strike for seven balls in the 17th and 18th overs.

This left the Royal Chal­lengers need­ing 35 off 12. Smith, the Roy­als cap­tain, went with Unad­kat, reck­on­ing that his slower balls would be harder to mus­cle over the leg side with the longer bound­ary in that di­rec­tion.

De Vil­liers, who sets up bet­ter at the crease against the slower ball than any­one else on the planet, went 6, 6, 6 - over the longer bound­ary each time - off the first three balls of Unad­kat's over.

An­other six over mid­wicket, off Archer in the fi­nal over, com­pleted the job and moved de Vil­liers past fifty for the fourth time in the sea­son.

 ??  ?? DAZ­ZLING DE VIL­LIERS
Dubai, UAE -
Hav­ing AB de Vil­liers in your line-up is like hav­ing a cheat code in a videogame. Take him away, and the Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore were very much sec­ond best to the Ra­jasthan Roy­als on Satur­day, with all their other bats­men strug­gling to find the bound­ary on a slow pitch, in a chase of 178. Take him away, how­ever, is ex­actly what the Roy­als couldn't do.
The South African star ar­rived with Ban­ga­lore need­ing 76 from 42, which be­came 76 from 41 when Vi­rat Kohli de­parted. Gur­keerat Singh would be on strike for 17 of those 41 balls, and score just 19 off them.
But even with all these lay­ers of dif­fi­culty added to his task, de Vil­liers pulled it off, and made it look easy, with just a bit of help from the Roy­als' tac­tics. With the equa­tion com­ing down to 35 off 12, they left their best bowler, Jofra Archer, for the 20th over rather than use him in the 19th as most teams would have.
De Vil­liers hit Jay­dev Unad­kat for 6, 6, 6 off the first three balls of that 19th over, and the game was pretty much in the bag. He fin­ished un­beaten on 55 off 22, hav­ing hit six sixes - one more than the Roy­als man­aged in their en­tire in­nings - and Ban­ga­lore won with two balls to spare.
AB deVil­liers
55*
22 BALLS
DAZ­ZLING DE VIL­LIERS Dubai, UAE - Hav­ing AB de Vil­liers in your line-up is like hav­ing a cheat code in a videogame. Take him away, and the Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore were very much sec­ond best to the Ra­jasthan Roy­als on Satur­day, with all their other bats­men strug­gling to find the bound­ary on a slow pitch, in a chase of 178. Take him away, how­ever, is ex­actly what the Roy­als couldn't do. The South African star ar­rived with Ban­ga­lore need­ing 76 from 42, which be­came 76 from 41 when Vi­rat Kohli de­parted. Gur­keerat Singh would be on strike for 17 of those 41 balls, and score just 19 off them. But even with all these lay­ers of dif­fi­culty added to his task, de Vil­liers pulled it off, and made it look easy, with just a bit of help from the Roy­als' tac­tics. With the equa­tion com­ing down to 35 off 12, they left their best bowler, Jofra Archer, for the 20th over rather than use him in the 19th as most teams would have. De Vil­liers hit Jay­dev Unad­kat for 6, 6, 6 off the first three balls of that 19th over, and the game was pretty much in the bag. He fin­ished un­beaten on 55 off 22, hav­ing hit six sixes - one more than the Roy­als man­aged in their en­tire in­nings - and Ban­ga­lore won with two balls to spare. AB deVil­liers 55* 22 BALLS

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