The visitors laid an Afghan spin trap to choke Sanju Samson’s outfit with experienced Rashid Khan (4-0-14-3) and rookie Noor Ahmad (3-0-25-2) taking the responsibility to clean up the middle-order and ensure Royals were bowled out for 118 in 17.5 overs.
The two wrist-spinners reduced Royals from 60/3 in 6.5 overs to 96/8 in 14.1 overs.
While chasing, the Titans were off to a flyer and finished the proceedings in just 13.5 overs with Wriddhiman Saha (41 off 34 balls) hitting the winning runs. The opener, along with Hardik Pandya, made short work of the target as the duo stitched a partnership of 48 runs to quickly wrap up the proceedings.
The win has ensured that the defending champions continue to hold the top spot with 14 points from 10 games, while Royals stay in fourth position with 10 points in as many games.
The three-wicket haul here reiterates the fact that Khan is a class above his peers in T20s. This is for the third time that the Afghan has claimed three wickets in a match in the ongoing IPL season. The other two came against Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders. He is currently the joint highest wicket-taker with teammate Mohammed Shami who too has 18 wickets to his name.
It was not just the disciplined bowling by the Titans, but also carelessness on the part of the Royals that saw them scratch around and perish. The only batter who has been consistent and scoring in heaps for Royals, Yashasvi Jaiswal (14 off 11 balls), looked solid but lack of communication with his batting partner Samson saw him lose his wicket in the 6th over.
Royals ended the Powerplay at 50/2 and there was no sign of relief for them as wickets kept tumbling. The next over saw the Royals captain (30 off 20 balls) caught at covers.
Like it has been the story this season, Samson looked promising and raised hopes of his team, but it was again a short-lived stay at the crease. In the face of an embarrassing collapse, Royals brought Riyan Parag (4 off 6 balls) as the Impact Player to add depth in their batting, but to no avail.
Big-hitters Shimron Hetymer (7 off 13 balls) and Dhruv Jurel (9 off 8 balls) too left without making their presence felt.