Rajasthan Royals (RR) staged one of IPL’s most remarkable jailbreaks on Tuesday.
A defeat had looked very much a certainty at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, with Punjab Kings (PBKS) needing just eight runs from the last two overs. With two set batsmen at the crease in the form of Aiden Makram and Nicholas Pooran, it should have been a walk in the park for Punjab. However, the penultimate over from Mustafizur Rahman yielded only four runs.
Still, Punjab was the favourite when Kartik Tyagi began his run-up for the final over. Off his third ball, he had Pooran caught behind. After bowling a dot ball to Deepak Hooda he had him edging too to Sanju Samson behind the stumps.
Tyagi gave no opportunity for the new man Fabian Allen to play hero. Instead, with another dot ball, Tyagi himself became the unlikely hero for RR, which won by two runs.
Sloppy fielding and a poor finish to the innings could have proved very costly for the Royals, though. KL Rahul was dropped three times, helping the Punjab captain (49, 33b, 4x4, 2x6) and his Karnataka Ranji-Trophy teammate Mayank Agarwal (67, 43b, 7x4, 2x6) put on 120. The Royals, put in to bat first, had made 185.
The main reason for the Royals’ retreat after a fine start was Arshdeep Singh. The 22-year-old left-arm seamer bowled superbly to take his first five-wicket haul in the IPL, showing yet again that he had a mature head on his young shoulders. He kept his cool as the Royals batsmen threatened to explode on multiple occasions.
He provided the breakthrough after the Royals' new opening pair of Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal (49, 36b, 6x4, 2x6) raised fifty inside five overs. The West Indian, fresh from his brilliant run in the Caribbean Premier League and in his first game for RR, was looking in good nick before being dismissed by a diving Mayank at extra cover.
Arshdeep also removed two other dangerous-looking batsmen -- Liam Livingstone (25, 17b, 2x, 16) and Mahipal Lomror (42, 17b, 2x4, 4x6). He gave the finishing touches to the innings as well, taking two wickets off the last two balls.
Rajasthan Royals: 185 all out in 20 overs. (Y Jaiswal 49, Evin Lewis 36; Arshdeep Singh 5/32, M Shami 3/21)
Punjab Kings: 183 for 4 in 20 overs. (M Agarwal 67, KL Rahul 49; R Tewatiya 1/23)
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