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Match summary: Royals recover from rocky start for a close win
Kolkata: Rajasthan Royals will have to be thankful to their young seamer, Kuldeep Sen, to hold his nerves in bowling the final over as they pipped Lucknow Super Giants by three runs in one of the most evenly contested games of IPL 2022 so far.
Chasing a competitive target of 166, made possible due to a sensible partnership between Shimron Hetmyer and Ravi Ashwin, Lucknow were off to a disastrous start when they lost skipper K.L.Rahul to a peach of a delivery from Trent Boult. The Kiwi also snapped Krishnappa Gowtham in the first over as Prasidh Krishna, Boult’s strike partner, removed Jason Holder soon after – dismissals which left Lucknow constantly playing catch-up from thereafter.
If Lucknow eventally made a match of it, one had to thank Marcus Stoinis, the Australian allrounder who struck an unbeaten 38 off 17 balls and their rivals in panic mode when 15 was needed off the last over. One would be inclined to question the wisdom of sending him at number eight though.
Now Stoinis available for selection, the Lucknow management may have learnt a lesson the hard way.
19th over holds the key
34 runs in last two overs with Stoinis still there with Avesh Khan. Will there be a twist in the tale?
De Kock sixth wicket to fall
Chahal invites the South African with a tossed up one on his off-stump. De Kock clears his front leg and tries to hoist it over long on by Parag completes a well-judged catch. Royals can now sense a victory here.
Odds mount for Lucknow
De Kock and Krunal are in the middle and they know how to take the match in the deep, while Stoinis is yet to come. It's not easy though with the run-rate at 12.5 with Boult to come back for his final over, Prasidh has two - so has Chahal.
The 'other' Kuldeep
Kuldeep Sen, the young seamer blooded by Royals, picks up his first IPL wicket - that of Hooda who was looking good to play the anchor's role with De Kock. A reckless shot from Hooda but the pressure had been mounting with the run-rate hovering at 11 now.
A nightmarish powerplay
A superb exhibition seam bowling by Boult and then Prasidh Krishna. The very first delivery of the match, which came back a mile after pitching instead of the left-armer's slant, would have done the peerless Wasim Akram proud. What a bowler!
Mid-match summary: Rajasthan Royals put up a challenging target
Kolkata: Shimron Hetmyer of the West Indies emerged as the saviour for Rajasthan Royals, who survived early blows to manage 165 for six wickets against Lucknow Super Giants in the evening game of the day in IPL 2022.
Royals, who were in all kinds of trouble after having lost their top four for 67 runs at the halfway mark, rebuilt with a priceless 68-run partnership between Hetmyer (59 off 36 balls) and Ravi Ashwin (28 off 23). The veteran Indian spinner, sent ahead of Riyan Parag, did his job before he was ‘retired out’ to make way for the lower order.
Lucknow’s fifth bowling option, leg spinner Kishnappa Gowtham (2/30) struck telling blows in one over. A target of 166 may look somewhat below-par against a side which bats deep, but this is where Ashwin and Chahal’s role can prove to be a decisive one.
Hetmyer the aggressor
Royals benefit from the stand as they build an extremely valuable 50-run partnership. Hetmyer gets into the 'finisher' mode as he picks up a Holder one in his arc for a maximum. How much can they get on to from here?
Ashwin the steadying factor?
Royals bench think on their feet to send the seasoned Ashwin ahead of Riyan Parag. The India veteran tries to play out 20 overs with Hetmyer and rebuild the innings, but they need at least a 140-plus score to play with here.
Gowtham to the fore
Gowtham, a journeyman in the IPL who has been a part of Royals also, strikes twice in the same over as Rassie van der Dussen tries to play the leggie from the crease and is bowled. A familiar failing of South Africans against leg spin, though the surface may provide some joy to the Ashwin-Chahal duo later.
Lucknow strike double-blow
The Royals middle order will be up for stiff test now as skipper Samson and Padikkal leave in quick succession. While Samson failed to connect to a Holder delivery which kept a trifle low to be lbw, while Padikkal's attempted reverse sweep off Krishnappa Gowtham ends in disaster. A top edge off the leggie, brought in as the fifth bowler, ends in Holder's safe hands.
Royals lose Buttler early
Royals reach 44 for one after powerplay but Lucknow will take that as they have got rid of the dangerous Buttler early. Avesh Khan, who has a knack of providing the breakthrough inside first six overs, bowls a fuller length delivery which shatters the stumps as the English batter misses the line in going for a big shot.
Padikkal leading a charmed life
Royals send out their ideal opening pair and Buttler seems to be continuing from his previous match. Rahul brings on Bishnoi inside powerplay, but the leg spinner fails to hold onto a sitter from Padikkal. Buttler, meanwhile, hoists Holder straight down the field for the first six of this match.
Lucknow win toss, elect to field
Welcome to match No.20 of the season at Wankhede Stadium. K.L.Rahul, the Lucknow Super Giants captain, has won the toss and decided to field - which seems to be the going template in the evening games in Mumbai.
Kolkata: Lucknow Super Giants, who have laid down an early marker in IPL 2022, will be up against an in-form Rajasthan Royals in the 20th match of the season in the second match of the day.
KL Rahul’s men, who have scored three wins out of four matches to find themselves in a surprising third spot in the table, have grown with each game with their allrounders serving them well and young leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi proving to be an ace in the pack.
Royals, who have covered all the bases in this year’s auction and are desperate to shed their under-achievers’ tag, have largely relied on the class of Jos Buttler so far – who has 205 runs from three matches so far. He is followed by Shimron Hetmyer, who has scored 109 runs in three games and has proved to be a difficult batter to bowl at.
As the evening game of the day at Wankhede, the toss will again play a key role and the match will provide a more even contest between bat and ball than the afternoon one.