Samson-Tewatia power-striking had caused a shadow on Rahul-Agarwal show. Carrying their good IPL forms the former pair combined to beat the latter pair in a high-scoring game in Sharjah. KXIP openers put on a 183-run first-wicket partnership to set up a total of 223 which RR chased in the final over with turn and twist in the game.
The weekend’s last match of the IPL 2020 was set the clash between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. Both the teams are on two points as they look to set their campaign to start strong from the beginning.
Kings XI Punjab innings – The Rahul-Agarwal show
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been in top form in this IPL. Rahul had scored a brilliant 132 against RCB in the previous match in the winning cause and Agarwal scored an impressive 89 in the first match of the season but in a losing cause.
See also: IPL 2020: Rahul’s 132 thumped RCB’s 109
Having sent in to bat first by Steve Smith on a pure batting pitch, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal started the innings with no hesitation. Both continued their good form in their boundary-laden innings. The pair batted for 16.3 overs leaving nothing much for others and added 183 for the first-wicket.
But this time, it was Agarwal who was the aggressive of the two. In a seven-maximum innings of 106 off 50 balls, Agarwal left no bowler from his brutal treatment. Bringing up his 2nd T20 century in style with a boundary. The innings also have ten boundaries with it.
Rahul, this time was more a strike rotator. His main role was to give strike to Agarwal. In the process, he also brought up his own fifty and score 69 off 54 balls with the help of seven boundaries and one six.
With just 21 balls left in the innings when the first wicket of Agarwal fell, Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran took the score to 223 with Pooran hitting three sixes at the end of the innings.
There was nothing to show in the bowling department on the pitch of Sharjah. Ankit Rajpoot and Tom Curran were the only wicket-takers picking up one wicket each.
Rajasthan Royals innings – Samson-Tewatia wins it for RR
Jos Buttler returned for the Royals having missed the first match but he didn’t contribute much in his first match. Got out early brought Sanju Samson on the field and once again Steve Smith and Samson are together to start things off for the Royals.
For the second time in as many attempts, the Smith-Samson affair proved to be effective for the team. Both the players are in red hot form. They scored 81 runs for the second wicket after which Smith was out for exactly 50 runs, which was his second consecutive fifty of the tournament.
Samson continued. Once again, his six-hitting ability showed all the hard work in the no-cricket time. He launched seven sixes in his innings of 85 runs which is second-consecutive 50 of the tournament.
After the departure of Smith, Samson was accompanied by Rahul Tewatia and his slow scoring with too many dots almost caused the wicket of Samson after he was dropped off Maxwell bowling. With 14 runs made off 21 balls by Tewatia, RR required 84 runs in the last five overs.
A mistake by Rahul. Giving the ball to Maxwell. He was treated badly by Samson hitting him for three sixes and bringing a 21-run over. Score required, 63 off four overs.
The first ball of the next over, Samson got out by Shami that brought Robin Uthappa on strike. With two fours on the last two balls of the over, the required score now is 51 off three overs.
Tewatia the villain, Tewatia the hero. At the start of the 18th over, his score was 17 runs off 23 balls and at the end of the over his score was 47 runs off 29 balls courtesy five sixes in the over. Sheldon Cottrell bowled the unforgettable 18th over and he was sent out of the park five times. A 30-run over left the score 21 off 12 balls.
Uthappa got out the very first ball of the 19th over. A surprising move by Smith, sending Jofra Archer next, who came after hitting four sixes off Lungi Ngidi in the previous match. The move worked as he hit his first two balls for two sixes. Tewatia also hit one more six after that he was out leaving the team to score 2 runs off the final over. Tewatia finished his innings with seven maximums.
A twist. Murugan Ashwin was bowling the last over and he also got the wicket of Riyan Parag but Tom Curran finally send the ball for four to bring up the highest chase of the tournament.
30-run 18th over cost the game to for Kings XI Punjab and RR win two in two.
Not so good-looking bowling card on a flat Sharjah deck. Mohammed Shami picked up three wickets for 53 runs.
After the match, the game-changer Rahul Tewatia said, “Now I am better. The worst 20 balls I have ever played. After that, I began to hit so I kept going. The dugout knows I can hit the ball long. I knew I had to believe in myself. It was a matter of one six. Five in the over, that is amazing. I tried to hit the legspinner, but unfortunately, I couldn’t. So, I had to hit other bowlers.”
For the second consecutive time, Sanju Samson, for his brilliant, six studded innings, was given the player of the match award.
Man of the Match: Sanju Samson
Result: Rajasthan Royals win by 4 wickets
Points: Rajasthan Royals 2, Kings XI Punjab 0