Brief score: Rajasthan Royals: 214/2 (20 overs) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad: 217/6 (20 overs) by four wickets.
Read play-by-play updates here.
It’s not a game for the faint-hearted! And Rajasthan Royals learnt it the hard way as we endured a four-wicket loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL on Sunday.
Batting first at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jos Buttler (95) and captain Sanju Samson (66*) put on a splendid 138-run stand to take the Royals to a massive 214/2. Playing on the same surface as the previous match, the Men In Pink were rewarded for their patience with batting becoming relatively easy as the match progressed. And with SRH lacking quality in the spin department, the hosts made the most of the opportunity to score big.
In reply, SRH were always under the gun with the required rate constantly climbing. But Abhishek Sharma (55) and Rahul Tripathi (47) dealt with the pressure well while Glenn Phillips’ late blitz (7-ball 25) raised Hyderabad’s hopes at the death. And just when it looked like the Royals had done just enough to cross the finish, a no-ball on the final ball of the match gave SRH a way back. Abdul Samad made no mistake in smashing Sandeep Sharma over his head to complete a record chase at the venue.
For the Royals, Yuzvendra Chahal (4-29) was the stand-out bowler. The Indian international tested the SRH batters on every occasion and was handsomely rewarded for his efforts. The loss sees the Royals stay fourth on the IPL 2023 points table with 10 points while SRH climbed out of the bottom spot and is placed ninth with eight points.
Jos ‘The Boss’ gets SRH on the ropes
“It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” Nothing summed up Jos’ return to form more than this famous quote from the movie franchise Rocky. After a series of below-par shows in recent outings, the Englishman was at his best against SRH and entertained the Jaipur crowd with quality batting.
Taking on Marco Jansen and T Natarajan in the Powerplay, Buttler was at his best and powered through the Hyderabad bowling. But it wasn’t until the spinners came into play that Jos brought out the big ones. Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Markande, and debutant Vivrant Sharma had no answers to Buttler’s onslaught as the Royals scored at a healthy pace.
Though his opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal had to return early, skipper Sanju ensured that we never lost the momentum and built on the perfect start. Importantly, he took the pressure off Jos and gave him enough space to work his magic. The Royals’ skipper targeted Markande with some bold batting that included consecutive sixes in the ninth over before piling on the misery later. This fearless approach saw Jos and Sanju stitch together a mammoth 138-run stand for the second wicket.
A game of fractions
Defending a huge total, the Royals showed character and kept a check on the SRH scoring rate throughout. While Sandeep and Kuldip Yadav – included in place of Trent Boult – were handy in the Powerplay, the Royals’ spin duo of R Ashwin and Yuzi Chahal showed their class when called upon.
Yuzi was impressive in particular as he mixed his line to keep the batters guessing throughout. Every time someone tried to attack him, he outfoxed them with subtle variations that had the likes of Tripathi, Aiden Markram, and Anmolpreet Singh, among others in trouble. In a match where over 200 runs were to be chased, the 32-year-old was economical, giving away just 29 runs in his four overs.
The Royals might have fallen short in a close one tonight, but with matches coming thick and fast in this final stretch of the IPL 2023, the Men In Pink will have to get over the heartbreak soon and prepare for another stern test when they travel to the Kolkata to take on the Knight Riders on Thursday.
- Yashasvi Jaiswal completed 1000 runs in the IPL.