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Rajasthan Royals' Shimron Hetmyer plays a shot during the Indian Premier League match against Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Image Credit: AFP

Ahmedabad: Shimron Hetmyer turned out to be the hero for Rajasthan Royals yet again, smashing a whirlwind unbeaten 56 off just 26 balls to give 2008 IPL champions an improbable three-wicket victory over Gujarat Titans in a thrilling match of the 2023 season, here on Sunday.

With seven runs needed off the final over, the big-hitting West Indies batter said he was focused on taking two runs on the very first ball to see what happens next. It exactly happened the same way as Hetmyer got to his fifty in 25 balls and finished off the chase by pulling Ahmad over deep mid-wicket for six.

“You just try to program your mind that way and so far it’s working. I was pretty happy to be honest to be facing (a spinner for the final over). I was just focused on getting a double off the first ball and then see what happens after that,” Hetmyer said at the post-match presentation ceremony after getting the Player of the Match award.

Hetmyer also mentioned that there was a motivation factor for Rajasthan in getting their first win over Gujarat in the IPL.

“I just really wanted to win against these guys because they beat us three times last year so it was a bit of revenge really. I just practice it really. It helps to practice with that mindset that you’re a couple of wickets down and you need 100 runs with eight overs left,” he said.

Hetmyer added a crucial stand of 59 runs off 27 balls with captain Sanju Samson, who made 60. After he fell, Hetmyer added 47 runs off 20 deliveries with Dhruv Jurel to complete the chase with four balls to spare as Rajasthan retained their top spot in the ten-team points table.

Samson stated that he was happy to be on the winning side after Sunday’s game.

“When you play some quality opponents on a quality wicket in a quality stadium like this, you expect a great match. I’m very happy to be on the winning side. I don’t think he (Hetmyer) likes easy situations. We don’t mind putting him in these situations,” he said.


Rajasthan hadn’t got an ideal start to chasing 178, being 26/2 in power-play, thanks to some stellar new-ball bowling from Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya.

“With the start we had while batting, it was very important to know how good a wicket this was. With the quality of bowling they had in the Powerplay, we had to respect them. But we knew we could play some shots later on,” Samson added.

Samson signed off by saying he was proud of his bowlers keeping Gujarat’s solid batting line-up to 177.

“I think it was very important to rotate the bowlers. They were going hard at our spinners. After the timeout, they were playing some quality cricket shots and we needed to respect that but I’m very proud of our team for restricting them to a 170-odd score. We had a good matchup with Zampa on David Miller and almost got him but still it turned out well for us,” the Royal’s skipper said.