Smith opted to field first after winning the toss. RR included Liam Livingston and Ashton Turner as Stokes and Archer have departed. Shreyas Gopal gave RR their first success in the fourth over by removing Williamson. In first six overs, their bowlers conceded runs at the rate of 8.5 per over. The same run rate continued till 10th over, while RR was still in search of their second wicket. Finally, in the 13th over, Thomas broke the partnership of Warner and Manish Pandey thanks to a brilliant catch by Smith to send Warner back. Gopal took the scalp of dangerous Pandey at the end of the 15th over with the outstanding work behind the stumps by Samson. Aaron removed Shankar in the 16th as Unadkat took the tumbling catch. Unadkat got his first wicket in the 17th over when he took a fabulous return catch of Deepak Hooda. Unadkat’s diving catch in the 20th was his third of the inning. Aaron conceded 18 in the 20th over, still, the target was under the control.
Rahane and Livingstone gave RR a brilliant start with 78 runs opening stand. They smashed 16 runs in the fourth over and 20 in the last over of the powerplay, as RR posted 60 runs in six overs. Livingstone destroyed S Kaul in the sixth over with his two fours and two sixes. He amassed 44 before getting out to Rashid Khan in the 10th over. Rahane fell to Shakib Al Hasan 2 overs later, and Smith got out in the 17th over. But Samson managed the show till the end and ensured RR’s comfortable win in 19.1 overs.
For RR, Samson was the top scorer with 48 in 32 balls. Livingstone scored 26 balls 44 while Rahane made 39 in 34 balls. Unadkat, Thomas, Gopal and Aaron took 2 wickets each, but Unadkat was the least expensive with just 26 runs.
For SRH, Williamson and Saha returned to the playing XI. The first ball faced by Warner gave him 5 runs thanks to an overthrow. Williamson got out in the fourth over for 13. Pandey and Warner together added 75 runs, but the scoring rate was always between 8 and 9. In the 8th over, Pandey smashed two consecutive boundaries to Gopal. Again, in the 9th he smashed two boundaries to Parag as SRH scored more than 10 in an over for the first time. Warner got out to Thomas before adding 75 runs along with Pandey. Pandey too left soon in the 15th over. No other SRH batsmen managed to stabilize, let alone accelerate SRH inning. SRH were lucky to get four byes in the 20th over and Rashid Khan’s 10 off last two balls gave SRH a decent total of 160 runs.
Bhuvneshwar and Shakib did well to give away just 8 runs in first two overs. But with the flow of the boundaries and sixes, SRH conceded 26 runs in the next two overs. The sixth over dented SRH’s moral as Kaul was hit for 26 runs by Livingstone and they needed just 100 in remaining 14 overs. Rashid got the first success by taking Livingstone’s wicket in the 10th over and Shakib removed Rahane in the 12th but by then RR needed just 68 in 51 balls. Ahmed removed Smith in the 17th over but then SRH had just 13 runs to defend in 18 balls. Shakib was hit for a boundary by Samson at the start of 20th over as SRH lost by 7 wickets.
M Pandey hit impressive 61 off 36 balls that included 9 boundaries. Warner scored 37 runs while Rashid hit a boundary and a six to add 17. Except Bhuvneshwar‘s 4 over 22 runs 0 wicket, the bowlers went for plenty of runs. Shakib, Rashid and Ahmed took 1 wicket each.
Rajasthan Royals are to play an away match on 30th April at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru against 8th ranked RCB. The win against SRH have boosted their morals and they know how badly they need a win in every match now onwards. RCB won 3 consecutive matches and RR need to break their string of success to get to the playoffs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad will play another home match against Kings XI Punjab on 29th April at Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium. SRH have lost their last two matches in Chennai and Jaipur. They need to pull up the socks and defeat Kings XI not to drift away from top-four slots.
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