Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 190/4 (19.4) beat Punjab Kings 189/5 (20) by 6 wickets.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” 

The Royals have returned to their winning ways and how!

Yuzvendra Chahal’s spin magic, Yashasvi Jaiswal’s terrific comeback, Jos Buttler’s dashing cameo and Shimron Hetmyer’s cool finishing act rounded off a Super Saturday for the Royals, as they registered a thumping 6-wicket win over Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. 

Earlier in the day, PBKS won the toss and opted to bat first on a dry surface with little to no assistance for the bowlers. Their batters started well, scoring quickly against our new-ball duo of Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult. With excellent batting conditions on offer, it looked like they were on course for a 200-plus total. But it was our spin department that took the challenge head-on, striking at crucial junctures and limiting the flow of runs in the middle overs. Ravichandran Ashwin got the first breakthrough in the final Powerplay over. Then came Chahal, spinning his magic, striking on the second ball of his first spell and then came back with another double-wicket over, to restrict Punjab to 189/5.

Let’s take a look at the key moments from this match:

Jos in the field, Jos with the bat

Batting like a dream, fielding like a star. Is there anything Jos Buttler cannot do? The Wankhede crowd was treated to the Englishman’s electric athleticism in the first innings, and if that wasn’t enough, a short but fiery knock in the second made it a double delight. 

Ashwin came on to bowl the sixth over, and a struggling Shikhar Dhawan decided to come down the track and attempt a six on the on side. But there was no timing in his shot. Jos, stationed at mid-on, went running backwards and timed his leap to perfection, plucking an absolute one-handed blinder from thin air! 

He then walked out to bat like a man on a mission. In the fourth over of the chase, he took 20 runs off Kagiso Rabada with three audacious fours and a massive six that sky-rocketed to the top tier of the stadium.

Easy peasy for Yuzi 

With 22 wickets in his kitty, Yuzi Chahal has become the Royals’ most successful spinner in a single IPL season. And the milestone couldn’t have come on a more important day. At one point, it seemed like wickets were hard to come by and the Punjab batters were dominating proceedings. Yuzi first opened his account by getting rid of Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the 11th over, and then followed it up with a stunning second burst. In a game-changing 15th over, he picked both Mayank Agarwal and a settled Jonny Bairstow in a span of three balls and arrested the momentum straightaway. With figures of 3/28 in his 4 overs, Chahal undoubtedly stood out as the star of our bowling performance. 

Redemption for Yashasvi

Have an opportunity? Grab it with both hands! That’s exactly what a hungry Yashasvi Jaiswal did as he walked out alongside his opening partner, Jos Buttler to chase a competitive 190. And while all eyes were on the Orange Cap holder, Yashasvi was quick to grab eyeballs with his scintillating start. From the first ball he faced to his last one, the southpaw looked in fluent touch with some picturesque, textbook shots on display. His fifty came off just 33 balls, and by the time he was dismissed, the stage was set for the middle order to finish on a high. 

Shimron’s breezy finish

Need an icy finish with five overs to go? Dial Shimron Hetmyer! With his 16-ball 31*, Shimron ensured there were no further hiccups in a chase that was well orchestrated by the top order. But that didn’t mean he applied the brakes on his typical style of run-scoring. His unbeaten innings included three fours and two sixes, including 10 runs off Arshdeep Singh in the 17th over.

Facing a loss is always disappointing, facing two hurts even more. But it is in a setback that one finds the courage to come back. And with a comprehensive win in this match, the Royals have bounced back in style, displaying conviction and their true ability to deliver the goods when it matters the most. With 14 points in 11 matches, we’re now placed third on the points table. We move on to our next match on May 11 against Delhi Capitals at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Until then, Halla Bol - only louder!

What did you think of our performance? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or with me, @arey_yaar