Rajasthan Royals went in without Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer but still managed to defeat IPL 2018 runners-up Sunrisers Hyderabad by 7 wickets in Jaipur on Saturday to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth in the 2019 Indian Premier League.
Rajasthan Royals replaced Kolkata Knight Riders at No.6 in the 2019 IPL points table. RR now have 5 wins and 10 points from 12 matches this season. More importantly, the Royals are now tied on 10 points with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. SRH and KXIP are ranked higher at No.4 and No.5 respectively because of their superior net run rate.
After a strong 78-run opening stand between Liam Livingstone and Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson paired up with skipper Steve Smith to secure a comfortable win for Rajasthan Royals.
Chasing 161, Liam Livingstone, batting for the first time in the IPL, led the charge for Rajasthan Royals. He hit SRH leg-spinner Rashid Khan for 2 sixes in his 1st over to set the tone for the Royals chase. While Ajinkya Rahane looked solid at the other end, Liam Livingstone played some breathtaking shots.
Rajasthan Roya,ls. even without Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, bat deep. With Liam Livingstone looking dangerous every moment of his stay at the crease, the pressure was piling up on the Sunrisers. Rashid Khan eventually got Livingstone with a quicker delivery on off and the marauding opener edged it to Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps.
5 days ago, Ajinkya Rahane hit a scintillating hundred against Delhi Capitals at the same venue. He was looking good against Rajasthan Royals and with Sanju Samson at the other end, the Royals were a happy unit.
But in the 12th over, Rahane hit a Shakib al Hasan delivery straight to David Warner at log-off for 39. But by then, it was Rajasthan Royals’ match to lose when Steve Smith joined Sanju Samson in the middle.
Earlier in the evening, Steve Smith won the toss and decided to bowl. Kane Williamson returned to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad after Jonny Bairstow left Sunrisers Hyderabad to report to duty for England as they begin their World Cup preparations.
In the absence of Bairstow, Williamson walked out to open with David Warner but he perished to a googly from Shreyas Gopal. Manish Pandey, who came close to his 2nd IPL hundred against Chennai Super Kings 4 days ago, was in fine touch again and hit a second successive fifty and added 75 for the 2nd wicket with David Warner.
Warner, who became the 1st batsman to go past 600 runs in the 2019 Indian Premeir League, was in line to score a record-breaking 6th fifty in a row in T20 cricket but he was spectacularly caught by Steve Smith after he a hit length ball from Oshane Thomas over exta cover.
David Warner’s dismissal for 37 triggered a middle-order collapse. Manish Pandey became Shreyas Gopal’s 2nd victim before Varun Aaron and Jaydev Unadkat rattled the SRH lower-order with some quick wickets.
Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Shreyas Gopal and Jaydev Unadkat picked 2 wickets apiece but Unadkat was the pick of the bowlers with the best economy rate.
Rashid Khan hit Varun Aaron for a 4 and a 6 off the last 2 balls of the innings to give SRH a fighting total