IPL 2019: Rajasthan Royals signs off home leg on winning note

Rajasthan Royals' bowlers restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 160 before the batting unit fired collectively to chase down 161 with five balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.

Sanju Samson top-scored for Rajasthan Royals with an unbeaten 32-ball 48.   -  PTI

No Jofra Archer. No Ben Stokes. No Jos Buttler.

No worries, but – the statement was loud from Rajasthan Royals on Saturday night. It was even louder than the happy noise made by the loyal fans of the Royals right through the match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

The seven-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad was as handsome as they come. And it proved quite an important one not just for the Royals, but the Chennai Super Kings as well; M.S. Dhoni’s men – with 16 points – has confirmed its place in the playoffs.

The Royals, despite scoring its fourth win in six games, is still long way from that stage, though. But, it is alive and kicking.

As it happened

And they seemed happy to have finished off its campaign at home with a win, which was achieved by a fine effort with the ball -- indifferent fielding notwithstanding – followed by a neatly executed chase.

The target of 161 was achieved with five balls to spare, with Sanju Samson (48 not out) and Ashton Turner, who finally managed to score a run after three successive ducks in the tournament, at the wicket.

The chase was given a solid foundation by Ajinkya Rahane, whose two sixes over midwicket off Rashid Khan in the third over set the tone, and Liam Livingstone, who was playing only his second match.

Earlier, the Royals chose to field and managed to keep the visitor's innings within an achievable range, though catches were dropped and ground fielding was shoddy.

The very first ball brought a big smile to David Warner’s face; the single off Varun Aaron was turned into five by an overthrow. It got only worse as the visitor was able to score 51 in the powerplay, for the loss of Kane Williamson’s wicket.

The captain was beaten by a Shreyas Gopal googly, which hit his pad before going on to hit the stumps. The next man and the Karnataka tweaker’s Ranji Trophy team-mate Manish Pandey, however, carried on from where he left off in the last match (against CSK), making 61 off 36 balls.

He added 75 for the second wicket with the top-scorer David Warner, who, however, played an uncharacteristically subdued innings. He didn’t hit a single boundary in his 32-ball 37.

But it took a brilliant catch to dismiss him, though. His fellow Australian Smith ran along near the offside boundary, dived forward and caught the ball at full stretch.

Given the virtually non-existent middle-order of SRH this season, the onus was now on Pandey to take the side to a safe score. But he was dismissed by a smart piece of stumping by Samson off Shreyas.

Wickets then continued to tumble, but a late onslaught by Rashid Khan, who hit the first six of the innings off the last ball, took the Hyderabad’s run-rate to eight. That just wasn't enough against a team that is rediscovering itself.