Sanju Vizhwanadh leads the way with an enthralling half-century

There’s some mystery surrounding his name but his style remains unambiguous.

Sanju Vishwanadh (or Samson, as he’s popularly known) made an enthralling 63 off 41 balls on Monday, a knock which ensured Rajasthan Royals kept its 100 per cent home winning record intact with a four-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. For the record, the Kerala batsman claims he changed his surname from Samson to Vishwanadh.

Ajinkya Rahane’s early dismissal brought the 18-year-old to the crease and his initial shots to the boundaries, like attractive twins, came in twos.

Two pairs of consecutive fours off Vinay Kumar, the first bunch on the on-side and the latter on the off, were followed by successive sixes off Murali Kartik.

Dravid’s departure in the seventh over brought Shane Watson to the crease and the Australian proceeded to form a 68-run alliance with Vishwanadh off 46 balls.

Hodge joined his fellow countryman afterwards and hit two sixes off Rampaul in the 17th to bring down the required equation from 30 in 3 overs to 13 in 2.

Frayed nerves

Watson was dismissed in the following over by R.P. Singh and RR lost a couple of wickets more in the 20th by Vinay to fray the nerves a little. However, with three needed off two deliveries, Stuart Binny pulled the bowler’s slower delivery for a four and brought his side level on points with RCB in the league table.

Virat Kohli’s team is still winless outside Bengaluru and yet again its bowlers failed to contain the opposition’s explosive batsmen.

Earlier, Chris Gayle presented his usual fare to lead his team to 171 after Dravid chose to put the opposition into bat for the second game running. Though he was dismissed in the 4th over by Shane Watson, the West Indian finished as his side’s top-scorer with a powerful 34 off 16 balls.

Gayle’s assault

Gayle’s innings began with a marked tentativeness and yet he scored three fours off Ajit Chandila in the opening over. An edge, a gentle push and a sweep, which made him slip dramatically, brought the initial rewards for the opener.

The full strength assault was in order by the time S. Sreesanth came to bowl the third over and he was dispatched for another couple of fours in addition to a six.

However, Gayle exited the arena when his loose cut found Vishwanadh’s gloves off Watson in the following over.

The West Indian’s dismissal reduced the boisterous party to a calm evening function for the elderly as no boundaries came for seven overs.

A.B. de Villiers did manage to change the innings’ tempo with two fours off Chandila in the 11th but departed soon afterwards when he was caught at deep point by Faulkner off Sreesanth.

Virat Kohli and Moises Henriques too perished in an attempt to increase the run-rate but three sixes in the final over by Vinay spoilt birthday boy Faulkner’s figures.

Scoreboard:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Abhinav Mukund b Trivedi 19 (21b, 1x4), Chris Gayle c Vishwanadh b Watson 34 (16b, 6x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli c Faulkner b Watson 32 (35b, 3x4), A.B. de Villiers c Faulkner b Sreesanth 21 (13b, 3x4), Moises Henriques (run out) 22 (19b, 2x4, 1x6), Saurabh Tiwary (not out) 8 (8b), Ravi Rampaul c Samson b Watson 3 (4b), Vinay Kumar (not out) 22 (6b, 3x6); Extras (lb-5, w-3, nb-2): 10; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Gayle), 2-66 (Mukund), 3-99 (de Villiers), 4-123 (Kohli), 5-145 (Henriques), 6-149 (Rampaul).

Rajasthan Royals bowling: Ajit Chandila 4-0-39-0, James Faulkner 4-0-42-0, S. Sreesanth 4-1-35-1, Shane Watson 4-0-22-3, Siddharth Trivedi 3-0-20-1, Stuart Binny 1-0-8-0.

Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid b Henriques 22 (17b, 4x4), Ajinkya Rahane c Singh b Rampaul 2 (7b), Sanju Vishwanadh c Kartik b Rampaul 63 (41b, 7x4, 2x6), Shane Watson c de Villiers b Singh 41 (31b, 3x4, 1x6), Brad Hodge b Kumar 32 (18b, 1x4, 2x6), Stuart Binny (not out) 6 (3b, 1x4), Owais Shah (run out) 1 (1b), James Faulkner (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-3, w-2): 5; Total (for six wkts. in 19.5 overs): 173.

Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Rahane), 2-48 (Dravid), 3-116 (Samson), 4-162 (Watson), 5-167 (Hodge), 6-168 (Shah).

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Ravi Rampaul 4-1-28-2, R.P. Singh 4-0-35-1, Vinay Kumar 3.5-0-39-1, Moises Henriques 2-0-6-1, Murali Kartik 3-0-32-0, Jaydev Unadkat 3-0-30-0.

Man-of-the-match: Sanju Vishwanadh.

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