Rajasthan knocks out Kohli's Bengaluru in Indian Premier League playoff

AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Rajasthan Royals ended Virat Kohli’s hopes of winning his first Indian Premier League title when they beat Royal Challengers Bengaluru by four wickets in the playoff on Wednesday.

Bengaluru batters couldn’t convert good starts into a formidable total with Kohli contributing 33 off 24 balls in a sub-par score of 172-8 after Rajasthan won the toss and elected to field.

Rajasthan stuttered briefly in dewy conditions when Mohammed Siraj (2-33) picked up the wickets of Riyan Parag (36) and Shimron Hetmyer (26) in the 18th over before they reached 174-6 with an over to spare. Rovman Powell (16 not out) struck Lockie Ferguson for two fours and followed it with a straight six to end Rajasthan’s four-match losing streak.

The defeat ended Bengaluru’s brilliant comeback into the world’s richest domestic T20 league that saw them squeeze into the playoff on the back of six straight victories after they had lost seven of their first eight league games.

Rajasthan, meanwhile, had won eight of their first nine games before losing four in a row. They will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in qualifier 2 on Friday with the winner advancing to Sunday’s final against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Bengaluru missed early chances when Cameron Green couldn’t grab a difficult one-handed catch of top-scorer Yashasvi Jaiswal (45) in the slip and Glenn Maxwell fluffed a dolly catch of Tom Kohler-Cadmore in the deep.

Rajasthan was cruising along at 81-1 before Bengaluru had a sniff when Jaiswal attempted an extravagant ramp shot against Green and gloved a catch to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik. Captain Sanju Samson also threw away his wicket when he got stumped off Karn Sharma’s wide delivery and Kohli made it 112-4 with his superb throw from the deep to run-out Dhruv Jurel.

Parag and Hetmyer then raised 45-run stand but Siraj’s twin strike gave Bengaluru a glimmer hope before Powell’s three decisive blows against Ferguson ended Bengaluru’s dream comeback into the tournament.

Earlier, Trent Boult’s impeccable seam and swing didn’t allow Kohli and captain Faf du Plessis (17) to score freely in the power play before Powell plucked a brilliant two-handed diving catch at deep mid-wicket to end du Plessis’s innings in the fifth over.

Kohli, who hit a six and three boundaries, fell soon after the power play when he tried to counterattack Yuzvendra Chahal off his second ball and holed out in the deep as Ravichandran Ashwin (2-19) stifled Bengaluru’s batters with his spin in the middle overs.

Ashwin got the Australian duo of Green (27) and Maxwell off his successive deliveries and could have got Rajat Patidar (34), who was dropped early in his innings. Avesh Khan (3-44), who gave away 30 runs in his first two overs, recovered well and claimed all his three wickets in the death overs as Powell impressed in the field with four catches.


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