Five important key moments in Sunday’s big IPL game between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
The second weekend of the IPL 2020 witnessed a humdinger. Rajasthan Royal (RR) came up with a gigantic effort to chase down 223 against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at Sharjah Stadium on September 27. With the victory, RR maintained their 100 percent start in this season while KXIP suffered the second defeat of the campaign. The pendulum kept on switching between two sides throughout the game on Sunday, so let us have a look at key highlights of this game.
Mayank Agarwal’s elegant 100
KL Rahul was the main man for KXIP against Chennai Super Kings last week. On 27th September, Sunday, his best friend and fellow state batsman, Mayank Agarwal, came up with a memorable knock. The 29-year-old batsman set the tone for KXIP by smashing the ball across the park during the powerplay overs.
Agarwal kept the same tempo throughout his knock of 106, maintaining a strike rate over 200. He plundered seven sixes, but most of the shots were pure timing rather than muscle power.
In particular, Agarwal set up the platform for KXIP to post the highest score of the season. It was a pit that he ended on a losing side.
Rajasthan Royals pull it back in death
At one stage, KXIP found themselves at 182 for no loss after 16 overs. With wickets in the bank, they were expected to go for the kill and touch the 250 mark. However, the quick wickets of Agarwal and Rahul helped Rajasthan Royals to halt their progress.
The death bowling by RR effectively gave them a chance to chase down the target. In the final four overs of the innings, RR conceded only 41 runs. Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell managed to squeeze some boundaries, but RR bowlers should get a pat on their back for giving them a chance to win the game.
Smith and Samson’s attacking approach
Jos Butler’s return to the team was a big boost for RR. However, the prolific English batsman was dismissed early in the innings. With the worst possible start for RR, KXIP were expected to tighten the screw.
Steven Smith and Sanju Samson had different plans after Butler’s dismissal. The duo took a counter-attacking approach by smashing the ball all over the park. They made 69 runs by the end of the powerplay, setting up a platform to take the game to the wire.
Smith scored 50 runs in 27 balls, while Samson ended up with 85 runs in 42 deliveries. Contributions from both batsmen turned out to be decisive.
Redemption for Rahul Tewatia
After Smith’s dismissal in ninth over, RR decided to send a pinch hitter to keep the asking run rate in check. Rahul Tewatia was promoted in the batting order and given the license to score runs freely. This move initially backfired for RR.
Tewatia was struggling to execute big shots as he kept on eating up deliveries. On the other end, Samson was hitting the ball well, but the run rate kept on increasing as Tewatia had scored eight runs from 19 deliveries.
After Samson’s dismissal, the game looked done and dusted for RR. Tewatia had different plans. The 27-year-old allrounder surprised everyone by plundering five sixes in 17th over. He changed the game on its head, ending with 53 runs in 31 deliveries.
Brilliant bit of skill from Nicholas Pooran
KXIP might have lost the game, but they had many positives to take from this game. Fielding was one of the strongest aspects of the team on Sunday. Nicholas Pooran’s brilliant effort to save four runs summed up their day on the field.
The West Indies batsmen plucked the ball from the air at mid-wicket and showed great awareness to throw it inside the boundary. It was one of the best pieces of fielding in the deep this IPL. Pooran’s effort was applauded by the team’s fielding coach Jonty Rhodes, who was sitting on the boundary.
By Kiran Thakare
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