RR’s narrow escape: Ever since the IPL resumed, there were two matches and both of them starred low-scoring contests with Chennai Super Kings successfully defending their modest total while Kolkata Knight Riders rocked Royal Challengers Bangalore with a dominating bowling display.
Fans had to wait for a couple of lackluster nights for IPL to bring out its heavy artillery as Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings duked out a high-scoring thriller with some extraordinary late drama to underpin the true ethos of T20 cricket.
Royals were off to a blinder as Evin Lewis and Yashashvi Jaiswal hammered a handful of exotic stokes to dictate the proceedings for Rajasthan.
It needed some persistent knocking around from the Punjab bowlers to rack up their opening breakthrough as Arshdeep Singh got the better of Evil Lewis.
It was another display of fiasco from Sanju Samson as the Royals captain couldn’t handle the pace of Ishan Porel, holing out to KL Rahul.
Liam Livingstone and Jaiswal stitched a rollicking stand between themselves to sail Royals through to a convenient 116 before the English batsman was undone by Arshdeep’s mix of pace.
However, his departure brought out Mahipal Lomror who absolutely scorched the Punjab bowlers with an extraordinary brand of belligerence that saw him whacking 2 fours and 4 sixes to rack up 43 from just 16 balls before Arshdeep bested him with another slower delivery.
However, the story for Royals from thereon was of sheer disappointment as a batting collapse brought them down to their knees with the team going from 166 for 4 to 185 all out.
Arshdeep Singh claimed a fifer while Mohammed Shami claimed three crucial wickets for just 21 runs, turning the game somewhat in Punjab’s favour, given the initial scenes that promised a 200 for Royals.
Punjab was off to a flying start with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal posting a rock-solid illustration. The duo stitched together 120 runs before Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Tewatia snuffed out both the openers in quick succession.
However, it never looked like Punjab can be in trouble as Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram had things well under control with the duo almost sailing the Red Army home without ado. From the last two overs, Punjab needed 8 runs to bag a victory and it felt like a formality for the Royals to bowl the last 12 balls, especially with the way Markram and Pooran were batting.
Mustafizur kept things tight for the Royals in the 19th over that brought the equation down to one-four runs required from the last 6 balls. Young Kartik Tyagi has summoned to bowl those last six deliveries and he started the over with a bang as he conceded just one run from the first three balls that also starred the big wicket of Nicholas Pooran.
Deepak Hooda came in the middle and played out a dot to be dismissed on the next, flipping the tide around in Royals’ favour as they were on the fringes of a remarkable victory. The last ball was another beauty as he whipped out a fierce yorker to leave Fabian Allen reeling in agony as they won the game by two runs.
In this story, we will take a quick look at two brilliant decisions by Sanju Samson that won them a remarkable victory to announce the return of IPL to its iconic colours.
#1 Egging Tyagi to stick to that wide line of yorkers in the final over
It isn’t easy to bowl a final over with four required off it and eight wickets in hand for the opposition. It is needless to say that the bowling team will end up as the losing side on 99 occasions out of 100. However, today was that one rare occasion where the bowling team emerged victorious, thanks to a stringent line that was maintained by Kartik Tyagi. He bowled every single delivery wide outside the off-stump and they were all perfect yorkers that made life a living hell for the batters. In fact, that line claimed Pooran and Hooda both with the duo nicking it to Rahul in a desperate attempt to steal runs through the third-man area. It is imperative that a captain supports his bowlers in the various experiments that he performs and that is exactly what Samson did. He patted Tyagi on the back and gave him a nod to continue with his experiments, after all, they had nothing to lose.
#2 Showing faith in his team-members even after incessant failures
Even though it seemed like a narrow escape for the Royals, in the end, it was a delight to see their top-order performing with such effortless brilliance. Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mahipal Lomror and Kartik Tyagi belted out impeccable performances that kept Royals afloat until the dying end. Jaiswal opened the innings with an incredible display of fluidity and a few exotic strokes that saw him rack up 49 runs from 36 balls. The show of pyrotechnics came from Mahipal Lomror who hasn’t really impressed with mediocre performances so far. The youngster inflicted an absolute carnage upon the Punjab bowlers with a 16-ball-43 that featured two fours and four sixes. Things could have been worse for the Punjab Kings had it not been for Arshdeep Singh who compelled him to hole out to Markram. Tyagi blew hot and cold until now but today’s performance will inspire a lot of hopes for Rajasthan, especially after the fourth victory as the team moved to the fourth spot and are tied with Mumbai Indians with the same points.