19 Apr 2022
Be still my beating heart, it would be better to be cool. But can we be cool after witnessing THAT epic finish? Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 217/5 (20) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 210 all-out (19.4) by 7 runs. The second century of IPL 2022 (by the same batter), the first hat-trick of the season (from the same team), a see-saw chase that went right down the wire - this contest had all the makings of an out-and-out IPL classic. One that we could watch over and over again for years to come, and the result would still give us goosebumps. The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai has witnessed quite a few high-octane encounters this IPL, but none compares to the sheer drama, adrenaline and entertainment that this thrilling nail-biter provided on Monday night. Once again, for the sixth time in a row, the Royals were put in to bat first. Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal gave a solid start, with the score racing away to 60/0 in the Powerplay. And once Jos got his eye in, there was no stopping the carnage that followed. His thunderous hundred once again laid the foundation for a massive total. He was well-supported by the rest of the batting order, with cameos from Devdutt and Sanju Samson continuing to build the momentum at the other end. By the time Jos was dismissed, the Royals were well on course for a 200-plus total. Then came Shimron Hetmyer, providing the finishing touches with his 13-ball 26 and powered the team to the highest first-innings total of the season. And if Jos’ exploits weren’t explosive enough, Yuzvendra Chahal wreaked havoc with the ball in the second innings. Kolkata’s chase started with a run-out on the first ball, putting the Royals in firm command straightaway. But Shreyas Iyer and Aaron Finch consolidated well to give their team a chance of chasing down a steep target. At one point, Kolkata appeared to be comfortably placed in the chase, and the momentum rested with them for a while. Ravichandran Ashwin produced a special delivery to clean up the dangerous Andre Russell for a duck. But even then, the game looked evenly poised. However, in a dramatic twist of events, Yuzi’s game-changing 17th over brought four wickets and broke the back of Kolkata’s batting. Umesh Yadav threatened to take the game away in the dying stages. But it was Obed McCoy, debuting in Pink, who held his nerve and delivered the final two blows in the 20th over, sealing a pulsating victory for the Royals. It looks like the Orange Cap and the Purple Cap are here to stay in the Pink camp. Let’s take a look at the key moments from this rollercoaster of a match: Superhuman Jos does it again Otherworldly, stunning, magical, destructive, swashbuckling, extraordinary - there aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to describe the way Jos Buttler has been batting this season. He’s probably batting on a different planet and we’re just happy to witness history in the making. The opener has lit up the IPL with two centuries and as many fifties and has crossed the 300-run mark, and we’re not even halfway through the tournament yet. His consistency has been unreal, his shot-making has been audacious, and his match awareness has been that of a tactical genius. Jos’ 103 came off just 61 balls, including nine fours and five massive sixes that went flying all around the park. He took on the pacers as usual, and was watchful against Sunil Narine, happy to just rotate the strike. He got to his fifty with a four, and he reached his hundred with a six. Just Jos things, if you ask us. Yuzi gets his hat-trick…finally! When it rains, it pours. And it was a night where wickets and accolades poured on a lion-hearted Chahal, who bowled his guts out in a tense contest. His first couple of overs got him one wicket and went for a few too many runs, but the leg-spinner bounced back to deliver a match-winning performance at the death. His four wickets in an over included the key scalp of the settled Kolkata captain, and it was the moment that swung the pendulum back in the Royals’ favour. Not only did Yuzi seal a well-deserved first IPL hat-trick, but also grabbed his first five-wicket haul in the tournament’s history.