Back to his happy hunting ground at the Dubai International Stadium, Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul made his intentions clear right at the toss. He wanted to chase, no matter even if the target was a stiff 186 before Kartik Tyagi staged a coup to help Rajasthan Royals steal a win.
Needing 4 off the last over, Tyagi came up with the wickets of a well set Nicholas Pooran and Deepak Hooda to turn the tide in Rajasthan Royals’ favour by 2 runs in a last over nail-bitter.
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Aided by three reprieves early on, Rahul (49 off 33; 4×4, 6×2) and his trusted lieutenant Mayank Agarwal (67 off 43; 4×7, 6×2) almost ensured that the Mohali-based franchise resumed their IPL campaign with a victory, before Tyagi’s three deliveries changed the course of the match.
Earlier, Rajasthan made a mess of their fielding, with Evin Lewis, Riyan Parag and Chetan Sakaria dropping the Punjab captain on three different occasions. While Lewis dropped Rahul on 2, Parag missed another after the batsman got to a brisk 29, and after adding a couple of runs, Rahul got a third life from Sakaria.
Sakaria managed to make up for the dropped chances with the wicket of KL, one shy of a half century, but Rahul and his Karnataka partner had already forged together a 120-run opening stand to set the tone for the chase. However, an over later, Agarwal followed his opening partner, leaving the gates open for Rajasthan’s comeback.
With Punjab needing 60 off 48 balls, debutant Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran brought up a 50-run stand in mere 28 balls. Pooran, who had a torrid outing in the first leg, with four ducks, came up with a 22-ball 32 (4×1, 6×2), while Markram remained unbeaten on 26.
IPL 2021: Tyagi’s last-over heroics help Rajasthan Royals beat Punjab Kings
Earlier, left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh’s career-best figures of 5/32 dragged Punjab back into the game as they managed to contain Rajasthan to 185, despite the heroics of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Mahipal Lomror.
Opening the Rajasthan innings, Jaiswal came up with a career-best 49 off 36 balls, powered by six glorious boundaries and a couple of monster sixes that actually spoke a lot of the impact batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar had on the youngster. Ahead of the Mumbai team’s tour of Oman last month, the Mumbai team underwent a session with Tendulkar, and Jaiswal had claimed to be picking the brains of the little master. During the tour, the 19-year-old amassed close to 300 runs in the one-day and T20 series combined, including best scores of 90, 82 and 75.
However, his efforts were slightly overshadowed by Lomror’s six studded 17-ball 43. Evin Lewis gave glimpses of his brute force with a 21-ball 36, studded with seven boundaries and a six, to provide Rajasthan a 54-run opening stand in the company of Jaiswal. Brought in as a replacement for the talismanic Jos Buttler, Rajasthan will be satisfied with their new import’s approach in his very first innings.
Skipper Sanju Samson (4) perished cheaply to a magnificent catch from his counterpart KL Rahul off debutant Ishan Porel. Rajasthan’s second debutant, Liam Livingstone also departed after a brisk 17-ball 25, showing glimpses of his potential.