Rajasthan moved back to the top of the points table for the ongoing Indian T20 Cricket League following a narrow 3-run wn over Lucknow in a thrilling finish to the Match No 19 played at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday night.
Shimron Hetmyer scored a brilliant 59 and Yuzvendra Chahal claimed 4/41 along with the Purple Cap in the 2022 edition of the world’s biggest T20 cricket league to help their side record a win which took a lot of hard work and determination.
Rajasthan Royals finished at 165/6 despite losing a chunk of their top-order batsmen without any significant contribution.
Jos Buttler, who has already scored hundred for Rajasthan in, w this season, was dismissed by Avesh Khan when the English wicketkeeper-batsman went for an expansive stroke but missed the ball completely, which crashed into his middle stump. Buttlerwas dismissed for 11 having scored 70* and 100 in the last two matches.
Opening the innings in the place of Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was dropped for this match, Devdutt Padikkal showed aggressive intent on a tricky Wankhede Stadium pitch to make a run-a-ball 29 with the help of 4 boundaries.
However, a 2-wicket burst from Lucknow spinner Krishnappa Gowtham had him dismissed in the 10th over, shortly after Rajasthan lost their captain Sanju Samson for a 12-ball 13, who was dismissed leg before by Lucknow all-rounder Jason holder.
Playing his first match of the tournament, one of the world’s best batsmen in the format, South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen was the second victim of Krishnappa Gowtham, who cleaned up the right-hand batsman for four in his maiden outing.
Rajasthan were struggling at 67/4 halfway through the innings and they desperately needed a partnership in the middle to help them revive. The pair of Shimron Hetmyer and Ravichandran Ashwin provided them with exactly, adding 68 runs for the 5th wicket in a smart partnership replete with right mix of caution and aggression.
Ravichandran Ashwin became the first batsman in the history of the Indian T20 Cricket League to have retired out, walking off the middle just a couple of balls into the 20th over to bring in all-rounder Riyan Parag into the middle. Riyan Parag did well to smack a six from the remaining 4 balls that he faced to help Rajasthan finish at a high of 165/6.
At the other end, Shimron Hetmyer finished at 59 not out, which came from 36 balls and included 6 sixes and 1 boundary.
For Lucknow, Krishnappa Gowtham returned with figures of 4-0-30-2 while Jason Holder was expensive, giving away 50 runs in his 4 overs for a couple of wickets.
In their reply, the Lucknow side were off to a horror start as they lost their opening batsman and captain KL Rahul for a first-ball duck. The credit for Rahul’s cheap dismissal went to Trent Boult and Jimmy Neesham — who was sitting in the dugout and came up with the idea.
Neesham suggested Boult to go around the wickets and get the ball to swing into the right-handed Rahul, who later on admitted that he never saw the ball which went through his gate and knocked down the leg and middle stumps.
Lucknow promoted Krishnappa Gowtham and Jason Holder in order to counter the swing that Boult was generating, but their plan had no success.
The left-arm medium fast bowler Boult had Gowtham trapped leg before for a first-ball duck, whereas Prasidh Krishna got rid of Jason Holder after the former West Indies captain had made his way to 8 from 14 balls.
Lucknow‘s dependable batsmen Deepak Hooda tried to weather the storm and build a partnership with Quinton de Kock in the middle, but they could manage only 38 runs from 34 balls for the 4th wicket before the Indian batsman was dismissed.
Deepak Hooda became the victim of Rajasthan bowler Kuldip Sen — who was playing his first match of the tournament — for a 24-ball 25 studded with 3 fours.
Rajasthan had further success in the form of the dangerous Aayush Badoni and Krunal Pandya, who were both dismissed for 5and 22 respectively as Lucknow kept sinking further in their chase.
However, Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who was also playing his first match of the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022 and who was held back late into their innings in order to provide impetus towards the end if required, did his job to near perfection.
Stoinis hammered 4 sixes and 2 boundaries to reach 38 not out from 17 balls, and had a final over showdown with Kuldip Sen where in Lucknow needed 15 runs to win.
After being beaten on the first four balls of the final over by the uncapped Indian bowler, Stoinis connected well to hit a six and four of the last two deliveries but his effort had no impact on the outcome of the contest, with Rajasthan prevailing by a small margin of 3 runs.