While the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has fared pretty well for majority of the teams so far, the same cannot be said for the likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR). Both the sides have endured tough defeats and, currently, find themselves searching for their first win this season.
Thus, when Bangalore and Rajasthan locked horns in the 14th match of the tournament in Jaipur, both Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane made a few changes to turn their fortunes around. While Royals brought in Stuart Binny and Varun Aaron, Royal Challengers handed a debut to Akshdeep Nath and included the likes of Navdeep Saini and Marcus Stoinis in their line-up.
And, after the changes were announced, the RCB fans were busy trolling the hosts for their decision to include Binny in their playing XI, especially against the likes of hard-hitting Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer. But, that prediction rarely affected Royals, not because Binny bowled just one over, but because Shreyas Gopal came to the party with his wrong'uns.
For someone who began his cricketing journey as a middle-order batsman, Gopal, over the years, has come into his own to establish himself as a potent all-rounder. If his technically correct batting strengthens Rajasthan's middle-order, his short bursts of accurate spin bowling gives Rahane an additional option in that regard.
On 2nd April, Rajasthan didn't really needed Gopal's batting as his spin bowling proved way too deadly for the RCB's star batsmen. The Karnataka cricketer's wrong'uns sent Kohli and De Villiers packing, and a googly brought an early end to dangerous Hetmyer.
Introduced in the seventh over, the 25-year-old bowled an absolute ripper of a delivery to breach Kohli's defence and rattle the stumps. In his next over, Gopal - thanks to another wrong'un - got rid of ABD whose hurried effort to jam his bat down resulted in a simple caught and bowled dismissal. His consistency to pick wickets in every over continued as he got Hetmyer out caught behind the stumps on a googly.
There are a total of 19 instances where a bowler managed to dismiss Kohli and De Villiers in the same innings in the IPL. But, thanks to his latest exploits, Gopal became only the second bowler to do so twice after RCB's current bowling coach Ashish Nehra. He had also dismissed the two star batsmen in the same innings last season.
Thanks to his impressive figures of 3-12, Rajasthan managed to restrict Bangalore to 158/4 before chasing down the total with seven wickets and a delivery to spare. Rightly adjudged the 'Man of the Match', Gopal's brilliant spell had everyone singing his praise.