Rahul Tewatia (45 not out of 28 balls) and Riyag Parag (42 not out of 26 balls) set up an unbeaten 85-point grandstand for the sixth wicket as Rajasthan Royals launched a thrilling chase against SunRisers Hyderabad at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. With this five-wicket victory, Steve Smith’s team ended their four-game lost streak and recorded their third win of the season. SRH defended 158 and led the majority of the innings, but Tewatia and young Riyan Parag kept their nerves in check and went deep into the game. With 65 runs required in the last five overs, both batters changed gears and put pressure on the SRH bowlers.
Tewatia turned the game on its head when he broke three consecutive boundaries in the 18th bowled over by Rashid Khan when 36 runs were required from the last three. He hit a four and a six in the penultimate over bowled by SRH’s death-over specialist T Natarajan to pull them even closer to the goal. With eight needs from the final left, Parag cleared the fence on the penultimate ball to complete a nail-biting victory.
Previously, Rashid had spun a web around the Rajasthan Royals middle order to place his side in a command position. Rajasthan’s trick to have all-rounder Ben Stokes open the innings was ineffective, as he got out in the second after scoring only five runs.
Their poor start got worse when a brilliant piece of fielding lost Steve Smith. Jos Buttler scored some good boundaries in his short hit, but couldn’t take advantage of Khaleel Ahmed in the fifth over.
Despite a slow start, SunRisers still managed to put down a total number of fights, scoring 158/4 in their 20 overs. They didn’t get the best of starts and took a big hit when Jonny Bairstow was killed trying to take over young Kartik Tyagi in the fifth.
Skipper David Warner and Manish Pandey kept the ship stable and made sure they had wickets in hand. Jofra Archer and leg spinner Shreyas Gopal were quite impressive up front with their clean line and lengths, reducing SRH to 26/1 in the Powerplay.
After the field restrictions were cleared, both Warner and Pandey batted sensibly and put in a crucial score of 73 points for the second wicket, scoring at a fast pace without taking too many risks.
In search of a wicket, Steve Smith handed the ball to his forward Jofra Archer and did not disappoint his skipper by disposing of a well-placed Warner who was two years before his half century. Pandey tried to bring the attack to the RR bowlers, but fell shortly after completing his half century.
A late cameo from Kane Williamson (22 out of 12 balls) and young Priyam Garg (15 out of 8 balls) helped SunRisers get past 150 points, giving their bowlers something to fight with on a slow pitch.
Archer was the most economical bowler for Rajasthan, returning with numbers of 1/25. Kartik Tyagi and Jaydev Unadkat also picked up a wicket each.
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