A butterfingered Rajasthan Royals dropped as many as four catches – three of KL Rahul in the Powerplay alone – but lived to tell the tale of their last-over thriller as they beat Punjab Kings by two runs to resume their IPL 2021 campaign at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. Chasing 186, PBKS needed just four runs to win in the final over but uncapped young pacer Kartik Tyagi held his nerves and took two wickets while allowing just a single to successfully defend what at one stage looked indefensible.
Mayank Agarwal (67) and Rahul (49) built a century stand and laid a perfect foundation but inexplicably lost the plot in the final six deliveries.
PBKS finished on 183/4 in 20 overs for their sixth defeat of the season massively denting their chances of finishing among the top-four. Rahul was given three lives – on 2, 29 and 31. He capitalised but missed out on a fifty by one run but not before clattering four fours and two sixes during his stay. By the time they finally held on to his catch, PBKS were cruising in the chase.
His opening partner Agarwal was equally good, hitting seven fours and two sixes while adding 120 runs for the first wicket with his skipper that put them ahead.
Rajasthan too lost the grip on multiple occasions – the first when they slipped from 166/4 in 16.3 overs to be bowled out for 185 in 20 overs. They looked destined for a total in the vicinity of 200 runs but the PBKS pacers made a late comeback to pour cold water on their hopes.
RR opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (49), and Mahipal Lomror (43) starred with the bat but PBKS managed to pull things back in the rear end. Arshdeep Singh returned with a five-wicket haul after Mohammed Shami claimed three as the after RR batters were going hammer and tongs at one stage.
Put into bat, Jaiswal was part of in two vital partnerships, adding 54 with his new opening partner Evin Lewis (36) and then sharing another 48 off 28 balls with Liam Livingstone (25).
Jaiswal smashed two successive fours in the first over off Shami, while debutant Lewis sent Ishan Porel, also playing his first match, sailing over for a six as RR had a flying start.
The West Indies batsman punished Porel for bowling short and wide, blasting four boundaries in the fourth over. Deepak Hooda was then taken to the cleaners as he bled 13 runs.
Left-arm pacer Arshdeep then produced the breakthrough, deceiving Lewis with a slower ball as Mayank Agarwal took a fine low catch.
After the powerplay, RR were at 57 for one.
Jaiswal then reverse swept England spinner Adil Rashid for a six, before depositing him over long off for another maximum. RR skipper Sanju Samson failed to make any impact as a terrific one-handed catch by KL Rahul ended his stay and gave Porel his maiden wicket.
Livingstone then joined Jaiswal, who picked up another maximum off Rashid in the 9th over. Jasiwal raised the team hundred with another four off Harpreet Brar in the 11th over.
Livingstone also tried to match his partner as he scooped one fine over Rahul and then smacked one over mid-wicket off Arshdeep. A sensational catch at deep midwicket by Fabian Allen sent Livingstone back to the hut with RR slipping to 116 for 3.
Jaiswal couldn’t complete his fifty as his leading edge was held on to by Mayank at short cover.
New man Lomror then went on a six-hitting spree, blasting two maximums off Rashid before sending Hooda for a couple more in the 16th over as RR crossed the 150-mark.
Lomror also smashed two fours as Hooda conceded 24 runs off his second over. However, Shami and Arshdeep restricted their opponent to a competitive score in the end which proved beyond their reach.
RR have now jumped to the fifth spot in the standings, improving their chances of making it to the play-offs.
Source: News 18