Rajasthan Royals 163 for 5 (Tewatia 45*, Parag 42*, Rashid 2-25) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 158 for 4 (Pandey 54, Warner 48, Archer 1-25) by five wickets
Out. Of. Nowhere. The Rajasthan Royals are making a habit of winning un-winnable games this IPL. Rahul Tewatia was their hero in shiny pink armour last time and he was at it again, with two daring reverse sweeps off Rashid Khan. The Sunrisers Hyderabad legspinner is among the most inscrutable bowlers in the world, but he was smacked for 4, 4, 4 in the 18th over which completely changed everything.
This time there was help. Riyan Parag is only 18-years old. He had already teased the IPL world with his talent last season and he thought it was time for a refresher once more. He was dropped on 12. He didn’t even have a single boundary to his name then. But by the end of it all, when he tossed his helmet off and began dancing on the pitch, he had two fours, two sixes and 42 match-winning runs at a strike rate of nearly 162.
The awkward start
Sunrisers were 26 for 1 at the end of the powerplay. They hit only two boundaries. That’s a new low in IPL 2020. But they didn’t panic. David Warner wouldn’t let them.
Bit by bit, he became accustomed to a finicky, two-paced pitch. He realised he couldn’t go searching for runs; that he would just have to make the most of the bowlers’ mistakes. That change in mindset was crucial. It took the pressure off him. It kept his mind sharp. It added to his urgency in running between the wickets. And the moment there was a half-volley, or a wide short ball, it helped him whack them for sixes. With Warner in charge, Sunrisers amassed 48 runs in the five overs from seven to 11.
The awesome finish
The Royals could see the problem Warner posed and so they brought Jofra Archer back in the 15th over and he cuh-lean bowled the Sunrisers captain for 48. Their head-to-head tonight: eight balls, three runs and the wicket.
Sunrisers could have lost their way at that point, but they still had a set batsman to fall back on. Manish Pandey, who figured if the ball wouldn’t come onto his bat, his bat would just go charging after the ball. All five of his boundaries were the result of his charging down the pitch as he finished with 54 off 44 balls and helped push the total up to 158.
The awesome start
Ben Stokes got into the XI on the back of one day’s training after his quarantine with the Royals and that rustiness showed. He was whisked off the attack after only one over and, having opened the batting, he went to pull a ball that wasn’t short enough for it and was bowled for 5.
Steven Smith found another way to undermine himself, this time not trusting his partner’s call for a second run and was run-out for 5. It was his fourth single-digit score in five innings this IPL. When Jos Buttler, who looked in ominous form, fell three balls later, the Royals were 26 for 3 in the fifth over and their chase looked in trouble.
The super awesome fantasticular finish
The Royals were 105 for 5 after 16 overs. ESPNcricinfo’s Forecaster rated their chances of winning at 7%. This wasn’t so much a come-from-behind victory as it was a %$#@ smash-and-grab.
And the confusion among the Sunrisers was palpable. Garg simply over-ran a skier in the 15th over. T Natarajan, who nailed his yorkers against Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, began missing them here. Khan could have had Tewatia stumped but the zing bails would not budge. They would simply light up, almost as if to taunt the bowler. Yep, ball hit the stumps, but it ain’t a wicket.
In the midst of this mayhem, Parag and Tewatia ransacked 85 runs in 47 balls to put a 50-foot exclamation point on a five-wicket win.