Rjasthan Royal’s rode the brilliant Sanju Samson’s 74, some final over heroics from England bowler Jofra Archer with the bat, he whacked four consecutive sixes, and Rahul Tewatia’s three-wicket burst were enough along side Steve Smith’s half century to help secure a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings in their opening game of IPL 2020 in Sharjah.
Unlike the first three games, there were plenty of big hits in the fourth match as the Sharjah cricket stadium is smaller than the other two venues that are being used in the IPL this season.
In the last over, Jofra Archer used his long handle to great effect and smashed Ngidi to all parts of the ground and above it to pick up 30 runs, while Samson smashed nine of the 17 sixes that were hit by the Royals during their innings.
RR posted a mammoth 216 for seven wickets in 20 overs and three-time champions CSK finished with 200 for six wickets in 20 overs, despite a late surge from Faf du Plessis (72), at the Sharjah International Stadium.
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Openers Shane Watson (33) and Murali Vijay (21) ensured that CSK cross 50 within the first six overs. Rahul Tewatia (3/37), however, ensured that CSK did not exploit the slim chance that was provided by Watson. He dismissed the veteran Australian and later Sam Curran, who was striking the ball cleanly. Shreyas Gopal got the wicket of Vijay in the very next over after Watson was dismissed.
Tewatia also got the wicket of the busy Kedar Jadhav (22), thanks to a sharp one-handed catch by wicketkeeper Samson. du Plessis then tried to milk as many runs as he could from the ‘death’ overs. But when he fell for 72 off 37, CSK still needed 38 off seven balls to win. That became 38 to win off the last over when Ravindra Jadeja left the very next ball unharmed.
MS Dhoni (29) hit three consecutive sixes in the last over which helped his team reduce the margin of defeat to 16 runs.
Earlier, Rajasthan lost young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (6) in the third over but then Samson joined hands with Smith as the duo played sensibly initially before the Kerala wicket-keeper batsman went hammer and tongs at opposition spinners.
Samson (74 off 32) looked in great nick, while Smith, returning to competitive cricket after recovering from concussion suffered before the ODI series against England, made 67 off 49 balls to lay the base for Rajasthan’s total. Smith played the second fiddle initially as Samson took Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla to task taking 95 runs of eight overs collectively.
Samson hit Chawla for three sixes in his first over and brought up his quickest IPL fifty in just 19 balls with the help of one boundary and six hits over the fence.
If that was not enough for Chawla, the leg-spinner again leaked in his next over as both Samson and Smith took him to cleaners.
CSK made a much-needed comeback in the match in the 12th over with twin blows in the form of in-form Samson and unlucky David Miller.
While after some great hitting display, Samson fell in search one too many, caught by Deepak Chahar off Lungi Ngidi, Miller departed two balls later in search on a non-existent double.