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Hitman Hetmyer

West Indian emerges as the man for RR in a nervy three-wicket win over PBKS

Hitman Hetmyer

Shimron Hetmyer caught fire just at the right time for Rajasthan Royals. Tribune photo: vicky

Tribune News Service

Deepankar Sharda

Mohali, April 13

It went down right to the wire at the Mullanpur stadium today as Rajasthan Royals handed Punjab Kings their second consecutive home defeat to return to winning ways in the IPL.

Sunday blockbuster: CSK take on MI

MUmbai: The legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be in the spotlight in what could be his final game at the iconic Wankhede Stadium when defending champions Chennai Super Kings take on Mumbai Indians in the IPL here tomorrow. Dhoni returns to the hallowed turf of Wankhede for the first time ever as a non-captain of the CSK, potentially in his last IPL season. It will also be his first appearance as just a player for any team since November 2005. CSK would hope their recent record against MI — four wins in last five matches including their seven-wicket win here last season — holds them in good stead. PTI

Such humdingers seem commonplace this season, but the RR-PBKS clash was rather a slow burn thriller. It didn’t explode into life until the last five overs.

Brief scores

  • PBKS: 147/8 in 20 overs (Ashutosh 31; Maharaj 2/23; Avesh 2/34) vs RR: 152/7 in 19.5 overs (Jaiswal 39; Hetmyer 27; Rabada 2/18)

Friday’s result

  • LSG: 167/7 in 20 overs (Badoni 55*, Rahul 39; Kuldeep 3/20, Khaleel 2/41) vs DC: 170/4 in 18.1 overs (Fraser-McGurk 55, Pant 41, Bishnoi 2/25)

Defending 147 was never going to be easy but credit must be given to the PBKS’ bowlers who took the game deep on a sticky pitch. Even though their bowlers clicked into form halfway through the match, Shimron Hetmyer wasn’t in any mood to play games, and his last-over heroics gave RR a three-wicket win.

Chasing 148 to win, RR were slow but steady in the run chase until Yashasvi Jaiswal (39), Tanush Kotian (24) and Riyan Parag (23) frittered away good starts. However, the scales tilted in PBKS’ favour after Parag moved back to the RR hut. It was then Hetmyer joined the party and scored 27 off 10 balls along with Rovman Powell (11 off 5 balls) whose cameo was equally important.

With 10 runs to defend in the last over, left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh was handed the responsibility to stop Hetmyer, who had caught fire by then, and hit Arshdeep for two sixes to finish it off.

RR began their chase sedately through Jaiswal and Kotian without any real scoreboard pressure. However, Kotian, who was batting up the order in T20s for the first time, never looked at ease but assisted Jaiswal to add 56 in 8.2 overs.

Jaiswal looked on course to end a string of low scores but played an avoidable uppercut off Kagiso Rabada and was caught by Harshal Patel. Skipper Sanju Samson, who had earlier broken the manacles with a six and four off Liam Livingstone, was trapped leg-before by Rabada in his last over.

Top-order woes

As has been the case with PBKS, their top-order — missing captain Shikhar Dhawan — collapsed and it was left to the middle-order to resurrect the innings.

However, they failed to fire this time and the side could only score 147/8, which was not an ideal total against a team that is leading the standings. Ashutosh Sharma (31 off 16 balls), Jitesh Sharma (29 off 24balls) and Liam Livingstone (21 off 14 balls) tried to force the pace but Punjab needed more than those cameos. Instead of playing a mindful innings, PBKS’ players continued their attacking approach and seven out of eight were back to pavilion off catches. It could have been eight but a mix-up between Samson and Avesh Khan averted it.

“We had a few funny instances but I am happy everyone is eager to go and catch it. I need to tell my fast bowlers that it is easier to catch with gloves,”

Samson averred.

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