Jos Buttler celebrates after scoring 100 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Narendra Modi Stadium Friday night. Twitter photo
It will be Rajasthan’s first IPL final since 2008, when they won the title under the captaincy of legendary Shane Warne.
Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan will now face Hardik Pandya's Gujarat Titans in the final at the same stadium in front of a huge crowd on Sunday.
Excellent bowling performance by Prasidh Krishna (3/22) and Obed McCoy (3/23) helped Rajasthan Royals restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to 157/8 despite a fighting fifty by Rajat Patidar (58 off 42) in 20 overs after winning the toss and opting to bowl first.
Apart from Prasidh and McCoy, Trent Boult (1/28), Ravichandran Ashwin (1/31) also chipped in with one wicket each for Rajasthan while the likes of Faf du Plessis (25 off 25) and Glenn Maxwell (24 off 13) were the only main contributors with the bat for RCB besides Patidar.
Chasing a modest target, openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler gave Rajasthan Royals a blazing start. They showed their class and took RCB bowlers to cleaners, bringing the half-century stand for the opening wicket in just 27 balls.
Du Plessis introduced left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed early but it was only to be tonked away by Buttler as shoulders began to drop on the field. Josh Hazlewood dismissed Jaiswal in the final over of the Powerplay, but it didn't have any effect on RR's run chase.
Du Plessis hoped for different results with Shahbaz in the middle-overs, but it wasn't to be as both Sanju Samson and Buttler collected fours and a six as the spinner conceded 35 in his 2 overs. At the halfway stage, RR were 103 for 1, cruising away towards their total. RCB skipper brought back Harshal Patel for the 11th over and on the first ball, he got Buttler to nick one behind but Dinesh Karthik dropped a sitter. Samson then piled on the misery with a big six and brought up his 50-run stand.
Hasaranga finally got rid of Samson but it came a touch too late for RCB.
The asking rate was already down to just over six and Buttler brought it down further in the 16th over, hitting two sixes of Hasaranga to bring up his fourth century of IPL 2022 — the joint-most by a batter in a single season (with Kohli in 2016).
In the end, it was Buttler who finished off the clinical chase on the first ball of the 19th over by hitting Harshal Patel for a six with seven wickets in hand. During his innings, Buttler (824) also became the third batter after Virat Kohli (973) and David Warner (848) to score most runs in a single season.
Earlier, batting first, RCB had a poor start as Virat Kohli perished early for just 7 runs in the second over, bowled by Prasidh Krishna. Kohli's early departure led to RCB's last match hero -- Rajat Patidar's arrival in the middle. He joined captain Faf du Plessis and they batted sensibly and picked boundaries at regular intervals, taking RCB to 46/1 at the end of powerplay.
During the process, Patidar was dropped by Riyan Parag at backward point in Prasidh's over when the batter was on 13. Taking the advantage of the dropped catch, Patidar continued batting with freedom even after the powerplay and hit few excellent boundaries.
On the other hand, du Plessis who was being tied down by RR's spin twins of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal but RCB were still going at a brisk rate. It was Obed McCoy, who gave Rajasthan the next wicket after the pacer got rid of du Plessis, who looked to go big but ended up mistiming the shot and was caught by R Ashwin.
Du Plessis who was being tied down by RR's spin twins has finally been dismissed. McCoy with the wicket. The RCB skipper looks to go big but ends up mistiming the shot and gets caught by R Ashwin, leaving Bangalore to 79-2 after 10.4 overs.
Maxwell, who came to bat next, showed his aggressive intent and targeted Ashwin and Chahal, hitting them for once six each. The Australian batter was threatening to give RCB's scoring rate a big push but Boult removed Maxwell courtesy a fine catch by McCoy in the fine leg region.
Despite losing wickets from the other end, Patidar continued his impressive run and reached his fifty in 40 deliveries. However, he couldn't carry longer and departed soon after scoring a crucial fifty as Buttler took an excellent catch near the ropes.
Dinesh Karthik then joined Mahipal Lomror in the middle as Bangalore were eyeing a strong finish in the last four overs. But Lomror failed to deliver and got out to McCoy after scoring just 8 overs.
Prasidh then dismissed Dinesh Karthik (6) and Wanindu Hasaranga (0) in the first two deliveries of the 19th over to derail RCB's innings. McCoy, who came to bowl the last over, conceded just three runs and restricted RCB to 157/8 in 20 overs.
Bowling brilliantly and in the channel, Shami sent back Lucknow skipper and his India teammate KL Rahul for a golden duck and then claimed two more wickets in quick succession for figures of 3-0-10-3 in his first spell.
Qualifier 1 and Eliminator will be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 24 and 26 while Eliminator 2 will be in Ahmedabad on May 27 and the final of the cash-rich league will be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium on May 29.
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