Despite the delay in the Eliminator match between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens due to last-minute rain and strong winds, the capacity crowd got full value for their money with a run-fest in which Bangalore prevailed by 14 runs to set up their Qualifier 2 date with Rajasthan Royals on Friday in Ahmedabad.
The result also meant that Lucknow's campaign in their debut season of the IPL came to a close, caused by their missed chances. The trio of Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, and Glenn Maxwell contributed just 34 runs as Rajat Patidar produced a carnage, a 49-ball century, which no one saw coming.
In a game of fine margins, Lucknow will look back at their missed chances in the field as well as with the bat in coming close to chasing 208. In the 15th over, captain KL Rahul was guilty of giving Dinesh Karthik a reprieve at four when he ran across and dived back at mid-off to catch with both hands. But as soon as Rahul's elbows hit the ground, he couldn't hold on.
Then, in the next over, Rajat Patidar got a pull high on elevation off a Ravi Bishnoi googly. But Deepak Hooda dropped an easy chance at deep mid-wicket, giving Patidar a boundary and reprieve at 72. In the 18th over, just a ball before reaching his century in 49 balls, Patidar got a reprieve again when Manan Vohra at deep backward point couldn't take the catch coming off a leading edge.
Dropping three catches in four overs proved to be fatal for Lucknow as Bangalore smacked a whopping 84 runs off the last five overs.
"It's quite obvious the reasons why we didn't win the game. We let ourselves down in the field. The difference between the teams was Patidar's knock (112 not out off 54 balls). When a player from the top ends up playing a good knock, the team ends up winning," said Rahul about what went wrong for Lucknow in the Eliminator.
With the bat, Rahul took time in accelerating as Vohra and Quinton de Kock fell in power-play. Though the skipper was interested in taking the chase deep, his stoic batting against the spinners meant that even though Lucknow were ahead of Bangalore in the over-over by comparison metric, the path to hunting down 208 was getting tougher.
With 99 needed off the last seven overs, Rahul finally accelerated to move from 48 off 42 balls to 79 off 58 balls. But with Harshal Patel conceding just eight runs despite leaking six runs in the start as extras in the 18th over, things got tough for Lucknow.
It was Josh Hazlewood, who produced the knockout punch in the 19th over when Rahul moved across to scoop, only to be caught by a leaping fine leg, enough to seal the match in Bangalore's favour as Rahul's late acceleration went in vain, signaling the end of the road for Lucknow in IPL 2022.