Rajasthan Royals shut out a sloppy Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to enter the IPL final in Ahmedabad.
In the Qualifier 2 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, Rajasthan cruised from start to finish. A tidy bowling performance kept RCB down to 157 for eight, before a blistering unbeaten 106 (60b, 10x4, 6x6) from opener Jos Buttler took Rajasthan home with 11 balls and seven wickets to spare.
The Englishman recorded his fourth century of the season to underline his status as the best batter of this edition.
RCB’s poor day was symbolised by a clumsy effort by wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who fluffed an easy caught-behind chance when Buttler was on 66. RCB went from deflated to defeated as the game slipped away.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (21, 13b, 1x4, 2x6) and Buttler gave Rajasthan the perfect start, putting on a 61-run opening stand in 5.1 overs. RCB pacer Mohammed Siraj could not stop the flow of runs, conceding 31 runs in his two overs. Spinners Glenn Maxwell and Shahbaz Ahmed were brought in to bowl in the PowerPlay, but they did not have much impact.
Captain Sanju Samson (23, 21b, 1x4, 2x6) played his part, guiding Rajasthan closer to victory.
After being put in, RCB was restricted to a sub-par total. Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy picked three wickets each as RCB struggled to find momentum.
Prasidh struck in his first over, getting Virat Kohli (7) to edge a ball outside off. Rajat Patidar, who scored a superb century in the previous encounter, looked in good touch once again.
On 13, Patidar was offered a life by Riyan Parag, who dropped a sitter at point. Patidar brought up his fifty with a straight six off R. Ashwin. The spinner came back strongly, enticing Patidar to slam a wide delivery to long-off.
Maxwell (24, 13b, 1x4, 2x6) looked dangerous, even if his stay was brief. The Australian launched Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal for sixes, and used the reverse sweep to lift Shahbaz for a four over short third-man.
RCB faltered badly at the finish, managing just 34 runs in the last five overs.