The Royals snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after some lusty hitting in the death overs of their run-chase.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) were almost dead and buried during the 17th over of their run-chase against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. However, the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ended up witnessing one of the greatest run-chases in the tournament, if not the greatest.
The Royals, led by Steve Smith, won the match by four wickets with three balls left. The Royals smashed sixes for fun in the death overs and chased down 224. It goes without saying that KL Rahul and Co were left stunned by the onslaught.
The Royals have now gotten back-to-back wins and have gone to the top of the points table. For Punjab, they have to go back to the drawing board, figure out the chinks in their armour- one of them is death bowling- and then take the field.
Here are the RR Player Ratings for the RR vs KXIP match:
Jos Buttler- 2/10
Jos Buttler couldn’t quite make much of an impact on his return for the Royals. He managed four runs off seven balls and he couldn’t get a boundary either. In the end, Sheldon Cottrell got him out. Buttler timed the ball with power, but Sarfaraz Khan took a sharp catch at the square leg region.
Steve Smith- 9/10
Steve Smith again opened the batting and he didn’t disappoint again. He blended caution with aggression and scored 50 runs off 27 balls with the help of 10 fours and as many as seven sixes. He also put on 81 runs for the second wicket along with Sanju Samson. James Neesham dismissed him.
Sanju Samson- 9.5/10
Sanju Samson was again at his very best in Sharjah. He came to bat after Buttler’s early dismissal and he muscled 85 off 42 balls. His knock was laced with four fours and seven sixes. He got to his half-century off 27 balls. It was speedster Mohammed Shami, who sent him back in the 17th over.
Rahul Tewatia- 9.5/10
Rahul Tewatia’s knock was a tale of two halves. In the first, he played at a strike-rate of under 50. In the second, he took the bowlers to the cleaners. In his 31-ball 52, the left-hander smashed seven sixes and took his team over the finishing line. In the 18th over, he smacked Cottrell for 30 runs.
Robin Uthappa- 4/10
Robin Uthappa started his knock with a couple of fours. But he couldn’t quite carry on and gave his wicket away to Shami. The veteran tried to play a check drive over long-off, but holed out to Nicholas Pooran. He is one of their more experienced players and need to hit his straps soon.
Riyan Parag- 1/10
Riyan Parag didn’t have the greatest of matches. He came to bat when the Royals needed only two runs from the last six deliveries. However, he played a dot ball off Murugan Ashwin, who rattled his woodwork around his legs. Parag is a young prodigy and is expected to perform in the next games.
Jofra Archer- 7/10
Jofra Archer had a rough day with the ball in hand, conceding as many as 46 runs in his four overs without picking up a wicket. But he made amends with the bat in hand. Archer smashed Shami for a couple of humongous sixes and ended on 13 off three balls. The batter had a strike-rate of 433.33.
Tom Curran- 6/10
Tom Curran picked up the wicket of Mayank, who did quite a bit of damage with the bat in hand. The fast bowler gave 44 runs off four overs with only four dot balls. But, the Surrey cricketer got the privilege to hit the winning runs, smashing Murugan Ashwin over the cover region for a boundary.
Shreyas Gopal- 3/10
Shreyas Gopal didn’t have an overly great day with the leather. He is a genuine wicket-taker, but on Sunday, he had to return empty-handed. In four overs, he gave away 44 runs and could only bowl four dot balls. He leaked two fours and three sixes and couldn’t quite step up with the ball in hand.
Ankit Rajpoot- 7/10
Ankit Rajpoot was the most economical bowler for the Royals and the only bowler with an economy less than seven. He bowled seven dot balls and gave away five fours and one six. Most importantly, the young speedster got rid of Rahul, who was looking ominous. He also bowled a wide and no-ball.
Jaydev Unadkat- 4/10
Jaydev Unadkat didn’t complete his quota of four overs. The left-arm fast bowler gave away 30 runs off three overs. He leaked two fours and a six. The southpaw was a tad erratic as well, bowling couple of wides. Unadkat will now be looking to find some momentum going ahead into the event.