That wry smile. That slow trudge back to the dressing room.
Virat Kohli’s season of miseries continues. But his second golden duck within a fortnight didn’t stop Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) from posting a 67-run victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
Like Kohli, Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson, who has been having even a worse tournament, was out the first ball, which he wasn’t even facing. Unlike Royal Challengers, the Hyderabad franchise could not recover from a terrible start as it fell well short of the target of 193.
Captain Faf du Plessis (73 not out, 50b, 8×4, 2×6) played the anchor’s role after winning the toss. He also got to watch some breathtaking strokeplay from a vantage point, as Rajat Patidar (48, 38b, 4×4, 2×6), Glenn Maxwell (33, 24b, 3×4, 2×6) and the irrepressible Dinesh Karthik (30 not out, 8b, 1×4, 4×6) went after the bowling.
It was indeed a stunning cameo from the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper. He hit three successive sixes and then a four in the final over, bowled by Fazalhaq Farooqi, the left-arm seamer from Afghanistan making his debut in the competition. The first of those sixes though was a dropped catch by Rahul Tripathi at deep square-leg; 25 came off the over.
It was for the eighth time in his 12 innings this season that Karthik remained unbeaten. He now has 274 runs at a strike rate of 200 and an average of 68.50.
The Royal Challengers innings had begun in dramatic fashion. Williamson decided to open the bowling with the left-arm spin of Jagadeesha Suchith. The first ball was a harmless half-volley, off which Kohli gave a comfortable catch to Sunrisers captain at short mid-wicket.
But Patidar put on 105 for the second wicket with his captain, off just 73 balls. That would prove crucial.
The Sunrisers’ chase began on the wrong foot, with non-striker Williamson being run-out by a direct hit from Shahbaz Ahmed from covers off the first ball. Then off the fifth ball, Maxwell knocked down the off stump of Sunrisers’ leading run-getter, Abhishek Sharma, who tried to pull across the line.
Tripathi (58, 37b, 6×4, 2×6) and Aiden Markram (21, 27b, 1×4, 1×6) added 50 for the third wicket before the South African became one of the five victims of Wanindu Hasaranga. His splendid spell helped his side exact revenge for the nine-wicket defeat by Sunrisers a couple of weeks ago.