Rajasthan Royals suffered their first loss in the Indian Premier League 2024 after going down to Gujarat Titans by three wickets in a close match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday.

Riyan Parag scored his third half-century of IPL 2024 and Sanju Samson notched up his second consecutive fifty to guide the Royals to 196/3. Parag top-scored for the Royals with 76 off 48 balls hitting three fours and five sixes whereas Samson had seven boundaries and two maximums in his unbeaten 38-ball 68. 

But Shubman Gill’s 72 off 44 supported by cameos from Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan helped the Titans seal the chase off the last ball. Kuldeep Sen picked up 3/41 in his four overs for the Royals.

Sent in to bat first, the Royals did not have an ideal start losing both openers within the powerplay, managing only 43 runs in the first six overs. Parag and captain Samson, two of the Royals’ best batters this season, joined hands to consolidate the Royals’ innings.

This was Sanju Samson’s 50th match as captain of the Rajasthan Royals. He became only the second player to reach the milestone for the Royals after the late great Shane Warne.

In the match, Parag was the aggressor initially, scoring two sixes off Noor Ahmad’s fourth over to up the scoring rate. Parag brought up his fifty in style, pulling Mohit Sharma for a maximum over wide long-on in the 14th over.

Meanwhile, Samson picked the gaps beautifully racing to his half-century in just 31 balls. He put together 130 runs off 78 balls with Parag for the third wicket to build a strong foundation for the Royals.

Shimron Hetmyer provided the late flourish to the Royals’ batting effort hitting a six and a four in his five-ball 13. Hetmyer and Samson amassed 19 runs off the final over to take the Royals to their highest aggregate against the Titans in the IPL and set a target of 197.

In reply, the Titans made 44 without losing any wickets in the first six overs. Just when the GT openers were looking good for a big stand, Kuldeep, playing his first match of IPL 2024, trapped Sai Sudharsan in front. 

Kuldeep returned to castle Matthew Wade and Abhinav Manohar in his next over to reduce the Titans to 79/3. He was consistently clocking high speeds beating the Titans’ batters with his raw pace.

Gill, in good nick, brought up his half-century in the 14th over and added 32 runs for the fourth wicket with Vijay Shankar before Yuzvendra Chahal sent back Shankar. Chahal then picked his 10th wicket of IPL 2024, dismissing the dangerous Gill and moved to the top of this season’s wicket-takers chart. 

Requiring 59 runs from the last four overs, the Titans scored 17 runs off Ashwin’s last over to remain in the hunt. Avesh Khan once again displayed his death bowling prowess, conceding just seven runs in the next over including the wicket of pinch-hitter Shahrukh Khan.

But Tewatia and Rashid Khan kept their nerve and scored 37 runs in the final two overs to help the Titans pull off their third win of IPL 2024.

Rajasthan Royals continue to be on top of the IPL 2024 points table with eight points from five matches.

The Royals meet the Punjab Kings in their next game at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Mullanpur on April 13.

RR vs GT IPL 2024 brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 196/3 in 20 overs (Riyan Parag 76, Sanju Samson 68*, Rashid Khan 1/18) lost to Gujarat Titans 199/7 (Shubman Gill 72, Sai Sudharsan 35, Rashid Khan 24*, Kuldeep Sen 3/41, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/43). Get full RR vs GT full scorecard here.