Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 178/5 (20) beat Lucknow Super Giants 154/8 (20) by 24 runs.
Read play-by-play updates here.
This is what teamwork looks like. This is what an all-round performance feels like. Whether it was with the bat, with the ball, or on the field, the Royals turned up with a fire in their belly that lit up Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium on a breezy Sunday night. With a comprehensive 24-run victory, they have completed the double over Lucknow Super Giants, moving to the second spot on the points table. This win also marks the team’s 100th victory in T20 cricket.
Earlier, the Royals were in for a pleasant surprise when their captain Sanju Samson won the toss (yes, he did!). The conditions looked perfect for batting and Sanju had no hesitation in opting to bat first. Jos Buttler fell early but that didn’t stop his partner Yashasvi Jaiswal from going berserk from the get-go. His aggressive batting worked wonders as we moved past the 50-run mark in the Powerplay. Yashasvi’s 29-ball 41 was well-supported by Sanju’s cameo and Devdutt Padikkal’s 18-ball 39, and it helped set the tone for a strong finish. Some useful runs from the lower order and a quickfire 9-ball 17 from Trent Boult eventually guided us to a competitive score of 178.
The wicket was still fresh when the LSG batters walked out for the chase, but a menacing Boult came roaring and pegged them back with his twin strikes in the third over. Then came Prasidh Krishna, stifling KL Rahul with dot balls and forcing him into an erroneous shot to send him packing. By the end of the Powerplay, LSG were reeling at 34/3. Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda put up a partnership in the middle overs but it was Ravichandran Ashwin who broke the stand, and from thereon, their innings never really recovered. Marcus Stoinis held the fort at one end but it wasn’t enough as he ran out of partners, courtesy of an all-round bowling display from the Royals.
Let’s take a look at the key moments from this match:
The omnipresent Boult
Need an early wicket? Dial Trent Boult. Some handy runs towards the end? It’s him again. Need some run-saving? No prizes for guessing this one. From hitting a couple of good-looking boundaries to delivering another double-wicket over to being an ace boundary rider - it was a memorable night for the Kiwi pacer, who returned to his usual best after a few quiet outings. In the first innings, he smashed the first ball he faced for a glorious flat-batted four down the ground and followed it up with a slice over extra cover for another boundary. Then with the ball, he struck on back-to-back deliveries to get rid of Quinton de Kock and Ayush Badoni, using his outswinger and inswinger to perfection. And if that wasn’t enough to make the night his own, he put in a fantastic slide to save a certain boundary coming off Krunal’s bat in the 9th over, serving timely reminders of his brilliant fielding skills and athleticism.
17 off 9 balls, 2/18 in 4 overs. Trent Boult - Player of the Match - well and truly deserved!
All-round bowling effort
While our new-ball pair took out LSG’s top order in no time, the spin duo of Ashwin and Chahal came into the attack to get rid of the middle order. Just when the Krunal-Hooda stand was starting to threaten, Ashwin dismissed Krunal by tempting him to go for the big shot and Yuzi followed by outfoxing Hooda, who was stumped by Sanju. Obed McCoy then came back for a successful second burst, cleaning up the lower order in a span of three balls. Prasidh was handed the final over, and he went for a six on the first ball. But the very next delivery saw the end of Stoinis, and effectively LSG’s faltering run-chase. The Royals played an extra sixth bowler in Jimmy Neesham, but their five-pronged attack was enough to get the job done, with each bowler bagging at least one wicket.
Livewires on the field
Neesham’s fantastic forward diving catch to dismiss Quinton de Kock, Riyan-Jos’ superb tag team effort at the boundary to send back Krunal, Boult’s diving attempt to save a four, Yashasvi’s overhead catch to get rid of KL Rahul - the Royals brought an infectious energy to the field that kept the LSG batters at bay throughout the chase. At a high-scoring venue where the conditions usually favour the batters, our bowlers stuck to their lines and lengths and our fielders kept their cool, saving every single run that would eventually be the difference between the two sides.
After having lost the previous match against Delhi Capitals, the Royals have bounced back with an exhibition of solid teamwork, undeterred focus and high energy to get one step closer to the playoffs with a resounding win. We have now won both our matches at the Brabourne Stadium this season. But there’s still a lot more to do, so we go back, absorb this win and prepare for what lies ahead. We return to the same venue on May 20 to take on Chennai Super Kings in our last league game.
Until then, #HallaBol!
What did you think of our performance? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or with me, @arey_yaar