Bengaluru, April 30: Incessant rain of varying intensity and multiple pitch inspections delayed the start of the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals as late as 11.26 pm. And when it started the match was pruned to a 5-over-a-side affair, which in itself was a tribute to the brilliant drainage facility at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Once the match began, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Gopal ensured that that proceedings were far from mushy. Kohli began the run hunt with two successive sixes off Varun Aaron and the first over of the match produced a whopping 23 runs - the base of their 62 for seven after being asked to bat first. But another round of rain when Royals were 41 for 1 in 3.2 overs ensured that the match was abandoned, and the teams were awarded a point each.
It also meant that the IPL 2019 campaign of Royal Challengers ended. Now, they have 9 points from 13 games with a match against Hyderabad remaining on March 4 at this venue. Even if they win that match, RCB will reach only 11 points and with Hyderabad (12) and Mumbai Indians (14) are already well ahead, it is impossible for the Kohli-led side to reach the play-off stage.
But the match began on a bright note for Royal Challengers with that Kohli assault before a familiar foe returned to haunt them. The runaway RCB train was stopped by Gopal.
The leg-spinner dismissed Kohli and AB de Villiers, who opened for the home side, in the same innings for the second time in IPL 2019 and overall the third time in his career to achieve a rare record. Gopal completed a hat-trick soon dismissing Marcus stoinis, whose uppish drive ended in the hands of captain steve smith. Now, the Karnataka lad has 18 wickets from 13 games in this IPL season.
The celebratory run on which he set off highlighted how much Gopal cherished the moment. Once the three power hitters - Kohli, De Villiers and stoinis - departed Royal Challengers lost wickets at regular intervals but still managed to reach a total that would challenge most teams.