The signs were ominous for Lucknow Super Giants at the start. K.L. Rahul lost the toss and was soon rendered hors de combat in the second over after picking up an injury while chasing a ball to the boundary. However, the Super Giants bowlers, led by leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and supported by seamer Naveen-ul-Haq, thrived on the sluggish wicket to restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to 126 for nine in an IPL match on Monday.
The four Super Giants spinners bowled 13 out of the 20 overs and gave away only 73 runs and picked up five wickets between them. Bishnoi (two for 21) was the stand out bowler while the other leggie, Amit Mishra (two for 21), and off-spinner K. Gowtham (one for 10) playing the support role well. Though he didn’t pick up any wicket, left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya (none for 21) juggled his bowlers and did a good job as captain.
Krunal’s first ball of the innings to Virat Kohli gave enough hints of what was in store. The ball spun and bounced to force an edge from Kohli, and sped all the way to the boundary. The Royal Challenger Bangalore openers Kohli and Faf du Plessis struggled with their timing as Krunal slipped in three quiet overs. In a rare show of aggression, du Plessis hoisted Naveen over extra-cover for six while Kohli guided the bowler through third-man for a boundary as 12 came off the Afghan’s first over. However, the visitors could only mange 42 in the PowerPlay.
Bishnoi, who varied his pace, proved tough to get away. Kohli tried to break the shackles by dancing down the track but missed the ball and was stumped by Nicholas Pooran. Anuj Rawat, who replaced Shahbaz Ahmed in the team, was all at sea and his misery ended when he pulled K. Gowtham straight to Kyle Mayers at mid-icket. The innings went on a downward spiral as Glenn Maxwell (4) was trapped in front by Bishnoi while trying to reverse sweep. RCB lost wickets in a hurry after a short rain break. du Plessis (44) holed out to cover and Dinesh Karthik was run out for 16. Naveen picked up three wickets.