Home > Features >

IPL 7, RCB vs RR: James Faulkner, Steven Smith and the sensational chase

James Falkner and Steven Smith shared an unbeaten 85-run stand in 32 deliveries to seal the match for Rajasthan Royals © IANS
James Falkner and Steven Smith shared an unbeaten 85-run stand in 32 deliveries to seal the match for Rajasthan Royals © IANS

In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 game played between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), James Faulkner and Steven Smith turned the game on its head by smashing the opposition attack to shreds. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at the thrill-a-minute partnership.

 

As the cliché goes, cricket is a game full of glorious uncertainties. When Royal Challengers Bangalore were bestriding Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2014 game played at Bangalore, not many would have expected Rajasthan to chart a Houdini act and snatch the game away from the very grasp of their opponent. However, Rajasthan’s duo of James Faulkner and Steven Smith showcased unquenchable self-belief and breathtaking power-hitting to win them the game from the realms of impossibility.

There was nothing more than a tiny window of opportunity when Faulkner joined Smith at the crease. During the last six overs of the match, they needed 83 runs to win. However, they had a singular vision to chase down the target and in the end were successful in their endeavour. During those heart-pounding moments of the game when you expect batsmen to crumble, the duo showed nerves of steel to script a memorable victory.

It was Smith, who took the mantle of trying to up the ante. In the 15th over of the match, he smoked Varun Aaron for 16 runs. Then with 65 runs needed in four overs, it was the time to go for the jugular. To win a game with the required run-rate a touch over 16, you need most of the shots to come off and for Rajasthan’s point of view, it did happen. Faulkner even tried a desperate slog off Mitchell Starc, and it raced to the boundary boards of a thick outside edge. Starc was certainly rattled by the fearless approach of Faulkner. The penultimate ball of the 16th over of the match was right in the zone for Faulkner to help himself for another towering six over mid-wicket region.

As Bangalore’s home fans chomped their nails, Rajasthan’s sparkling duo of Faulkner and Smith akin to turbo charged engines continued to explore the nook and cranny of the ground. Smith smashed the erratic Ashok Dinda for 23 runs, followed by Faulkner giving finishing touches to take Rajasthan to a monumental victory. Both had the chutzpah to keep playing lofted strokes with gay abandon. In fact, the sheer willpower on view left everyone gasping for breath.

This isn’t the first time that Faulkner has pulled off a remarkable win with his coup de main. When Australia visited India to play a One-Day International (ODI) in October last year, he did something similar. In the game played at Mohali, Australia required 44 runs off 18 balls and Faulkner smashed Ishant Sharma for 30 runs, and Australia tasted the  success of glory.  A few months later, he engineered Australia’s triumph at the Gabba, Brisbane against England. With the game slipping away from Australia’s grasp, Faulkner washed away the challenge with aplomb by single-handedly taking them to a win. His pertinacious knock in a cauldron of bubbling tensions was met with applause and appreciation.

Coming back to the IPL 7 match played between Bangalore and Rajasthan, it has to be remembered that  the track was a batting paradise and Bangalore’s bowlers lost the plot during the final overs of the game. They seemed to be lost for ideas. For instance, why couldn’t have one of the right-arm pacers tried to bowl from around the wicket to create a different angle? However, Faulkner and Smith deserve full credit for their  equanimity and fearless courage in times of crisis.

Click here for IPL 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014 (16:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 12, 2014  at Sharjah

New Zealand won by 4 wkts

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Josh Hazlewood looks back at his 5-wicket haul

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Key clashes

Live Cricket Score, South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 3 at Centurion: Kyle Abbott gets Leon Johnson early into second session

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 3: India reach 71/1 at stumps

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi Preview: Teams prepare for high-octane finale

Anil Kumble Australia India Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin Ricky Ponting South Africa

Dean Brownlie, Kane Williamson bring up 50-run 2nd-wicket stand

New Zealand 51/1 after 13 overs vs Pakistan

India vs Australia 2014-15: Umesh Yadav admits visitors bowled too short

New Zealand lose Martin Guptill off the bowling of Mohammad Irfan

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Kiwis win toss and elect to bat

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 3: India’s pathetic bowling performance, Mitchell Johnson’s onslaught and other highlights

India’s inability to dismiss Australia’s tail can have huge impact

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: New Zealand likely XI

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Pakistan likely XI

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Key clashes

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here