Stellar efforts from fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq and the leg-spin duo of Ravi Bishnoi and Amit Mishra helped Lucknow Super Giants restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to a modest 126/9 in 20 overs at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium on Monday.
On a challenging black soil pitch, Bangalore began their innings well by not losing wickets in the Power-play. But as the innings progressed, they kept losing wickets as Naveen picked 3-30 while Bishnoi and Mishra had identical figures of 2-21 to tie down Bangalore.
Barring a 44 from captain Faf du Plessis, Bangalore's batters weren't given any breathing space to break the shackles and could only hit eight boundaries in their innings, the lowest by any team in IPL 2023 till now.
On the first ball of the innings, Krunal Pandya got a turn and bounce, showing signs of what would come in the game. Virat Kohli pushed at it and got a thick outside edge past the first slip, for four. Lucknow were dealt a huge blow as captain KL Rahul walked off the field after injuring his right leg while trying to stop a boundary on the last ball of the second over.
After three overs of no boundary, du Plessis broke the shackles by lofting Naveen over long-off for six, followed by Kohli steering him between backward point and third man for four. Kohli then broke a 3.3-over period of no boundaries by driving through cover on an overpitched delivery by Yash Thakur.
But in the ninth over, Kohli fell as he was nowhere near the pitch of the ball while coming down the pitch to counter a googly from Bishnoi and was stumped easily. From there, Bangalore endured a slide as Anuj Rawat pulled straight to deep mid-wicket off K. Gowtham, Glenn Maxwell missed a reverse sweep off Bishnoi and trapped plumb lbw, followed by Suyash Prabhudessai miscuing to long-off against Amit Mishra.
The drizzle then got heavier and forced players and umpires to go off the field in the 16th over. After 25 minutes, play resumed and Dinesh Karthik pulled Naveen for four and went deep in the crease to pull Mishra for six. But the veteran leg-spinner bounced back by having du Plessis slice a leg break to cover running in from his right.
Bangalore's implosion continued as Mahipal Lomror was trapped lbw by a ball from Naveen keeping low while Karthik was run out by a brilliant direct hit from Thakur turning around in his follow-through at the non-striker's end. Naveen then picked two more wickets and gave away only six runs in the last over to keep Bangalore below 130.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 126/9 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 44, Virat Kohli 31; Naveen-ul-Haq 3-30, Ravi Bishnoi 2-21) against Lucknow Super Giants
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