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IPL 2021 | SC’s Sedentary Review: RCB vs RR - ‘Clinical’ Bangalore hammer Rajasthan to regain top spot

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Siraj set-up the game for RCB

IPL

IPL 2021 | SC’s Sedentary Review: RCB vs RR - ‘Clinical’ Bangalore hammer Rajasthan to regain top spot

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Harshit Anand

04/22/2021

In what turned out to be a clinical show from Bangalore, they outclassed Rajasthan in all departments to make it four straight wins and regain the numero-uno position on the points table. Kohli and Paddikal made light work of the chase after the Challengers restricted Samson's men to just 177.

Where RCB won the game

The Powerplay. It was some exceptional bowling from the RCB upfront that put them into absolute ascendancy. Bangalore reduced Rajasthan to 3/32 in the first six overs and from there on, the Royals had to play the catch up game and they felt agonizingly short of setting-up a competitive target. No wonder the Virat Kohli-led side won the game with quite an ease.

Observations

Mohammed Siraj oozes supreme confidence 

Mohammed Siraj is going through a sort of phase that it has stopped mattering whether it's the white-ball or the red-ball, Australia or Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai or Chennai, as he will just kill it. As unsurprising as his red-ball performances were at the top-level, he has never been rated much in white-ball cricket. But right from the last IPL, the fast bowler has been growing in confidence and this year, post his India stint, there's a different air around him. With his aura, one could feel that this ain't just any other pacer, and is someone who can make or break the game and deliver when the team needs him to. If the KKR game showed how he can bowl yorkers at will to outfox Andre Russell, today, it was about bamboozling Jos Buttler and David Miller with his raw pace, hard lengths and invariable consistency upfront. Siraj has turned into a premier Powerplay enforcer and since the start of IPL 2020, has struck every 13.80 deliveries - the best for any bowler, with an equally impressive ER of 6.30 - the third-best among the top 10 wicket-takers in the phase. Today, his opening spell set up the tone for Bangalore as he took two wickets for 14 runs to put the Royals on the back foot early.

No, Sanju Samson…... you ought to do better than this 

Nothing, literally nothing can come in the way of Sanju Samson's age-old template in the IPL. He will start off as emphatically as anyone, create a crazy hype around himself and then start frustrating with his inconsistency. The only constant with him is the unreal inconsistency. And this year has been no different. After a remarkable century in his side's opening game, he has returned with scores of 4, 1, and 21 respectively. Now that has become even more ridiculous because he's leading the side and is expected to put up stronger performances and better his shot selection. Even Brian Lara wasn't too impressed with him, and stated on-air that the way a captain bats rubs off on the whole team. After getting off to a good start, it was a soft dismissal that brought about his downfall. With the team already missing Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler not clicking, the team is heavily dependent on him but that, more often than not, turns into agony. If anything, the team management has to have a strong word with him and make it clear that for a senior player of his class and ability, Samson needs to do a lot better than get out to lose hacks and soft dismissals. 

Contrasting tales of Harshal Patel and Devdutt Paddikal 

The wicket can change a lot of things. And who knows it better than Harshal Patel. Though he ended up with three wickets against the Royals but went for 11.8 RPO, the worst of all the RCB bowlers. Suddenly, on a flat pitch, with better carry, his slower-balls were no longer as difficult to decipher and counter, while his pace or lack of it, was hardly enough to challenge the batsmen. With a brilliant Powerplay today and the Royals' atrocious batting, it didn't cost Bangalore much but in the upcoming games, it can become a headache with RCB already lacking good death options. 

Now, one can argue that Devdutt Padikkal might well have been rusty, initially, post his battle with COVID-19 and some sticky Chepauk surfaces, but today, on a flat deck, it was the Devdutt Padikkal show as he out batted even Virat Kohli, who kept on giving him the strike, turning into a mere spectator like the bowlers. The southpaw was literally hitting every other ball on the screws, and just turned on his never seen before beast mode. There were issues with his batting in the middle-overs, last year, but today, it was just BANG, BANG, on repeat mode as the hapless bowlers copped heavy pasting. Paddikal's return to his best, further boosts an already firing batting line-up. 

Hot take zone

Utilize Riyan Parag at 4 

Riyan Parag is a man of many talents. He can play the role of a floater/finisher, roll his arm over, besides providing ample entertainment with his antics. But batting remains his primary talent and from what we have seen of him, there’s plenty to suggest that he's a far better player than the position he bats for the Royals. Though Parag has nailed that too, his temperament, class, nonchalance, audacity, and effortlessness promise far greater returns. In SMAT 2021, he had taken over the responsibility of his side, made 261 runs in five innings at 87 and almost took Assam to the knock-outs. So, the right-hander has a good head on his shoulders and can bat responsibly. If he gets a few balls to settle in, with no hurry, Parag can unleash his wide array of shots, and make those 60s and 70s, then getting wasted for 20s and 30s, which Rajasthan have been doing with him. Also batting David Miller at 4, is too high for him while Shivam Dube, looks better suited for the finishers role. If the Parag experiment comes off, the 19-year-old can turn out to be a long-term investment for the franchise and has already shown that he has everything to become a superstar in the format.

Player Ratings

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The MVP  

Mohammed Siraj. Come on, let's not get surprised at this, it was a flat batting wicket and there were many batters who batted effortlessly. It was Mohammed Siraj, who set-up the game with the ball as he got the prized scalps of Jos Buttler and David Miller early. Siraj's figures of 2/14 in the Powerplay broke the back bone of Rajasthan's batting and as a result, on a wicket where 200-210 was a par score, the Royals ended with a paltry 177.

Match Frenzy O Meter - Entertaining 

It was yet another fabulous game at the Wankhede. It started off with peach bowling from Siraj and as we progressed into the RR's innings, there were some exceptionally remarkable shots, RCB's share of goof-ups, a lot of emotions between both the teams and above all, just good hard cricket. It was followed by a bludgeoning show from Padikkal and Kohli, as they soared up the excitement juices with some otherworldly clean-hitting. It was an out and out entertaining game. 

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