Lucknow Super Giants 154 for 7 (Mayers 51, Rahul 39, Ashwin 2-23) beat Rajasthan Royals 144 for 6 (Jaiswal 44, Buttler 40, Avesh 3-25, Stoinis 2-28) by 10 runs
On a slow Sawai Mansingh Stadium pitch, Lucknow Super Giants spoiled Rajasthan Royals’ homecoming in a game of middling totals by defending 154, the lowest total successfully defended this IPL.
Riyan Parag started the final over with a four, followed by a leg-bye, before Avesh dismissed Padikkal and Dhruv Jurel on successive deliveries to seal the result.
LSG’s scratchy start
The recent record in Jaipur was in favour of the chasing sides, and Sanju Samson duly opted to bowl. Even though Trent Boult couldn’t pick up a wicket in the first over this time, he started with a maiden to KL Rahul. With just 14 runs on the board after three overs, Rahul walked at Sandeep Sharma and punched him uppishly towards extra cover, where Yashasvi Jaiswal put down a straightforward chance. Later in the over, Rahul got another life when he pushed one to the right of Jaiswal and took off. Jaiswal intercepted with a dive but missed a direct hit, and Rahul would have been out by a yard.
In the next over, Rahul had a third life: he miscued Boult, but Jason Holder, having settled under it after running back from mid-off, failed to hold on. With Kyle Mayers also struggling to score freely, Super Giants finished the powerplay on 37 for 0 – the lowest wicketless powerplay total this season by a distance.
A flicker from Rahul and Mayers, but nothing more
It was only after the powerplay that Rahul and Mayers really tried to increase the tempo. They were successful too for a while. Mayers launched Holder for a six in the eighth over and Rahul finished it with a four. In the next over, Yuzvendra Chahal was in the firing line. Mayers started by hitting a six and four off successive balls before Rahul slog-swept the legspinner for another six.
With Super Giants 74 for no loss after nine overs, the platform was set. However, the next nine overs brought them just 55 runs with the loss of four wickets. Rahul was the first to depart, chipping Holder to long-on for 39 off 32. The experiment to send Ayush Badoni at No. 3 didn’t work either; the batter deflected a scoop off Boult onto his leg stump in the next over.
In the 13th over, Mayers struck back-to-back fours off Chahal, and brought up his half-century off 40 balls. But R Ashwin’s double-strike from the other end, to remove Deepak Hooda and Mayers, kept the lid on the scoring rate. And despite Nicholas Pooran hitting Holder for two fours and a six in a 17-run 19th over, Super Giants just crossed 150.
Jaiswal keeps Royals afloat
Royals started their chase slowly and were 23 for 0 after four overs despite Yudhvir Singh leaking 16 in the second. By the end of the powerplay, though, they had more than doubled their score. A misfield by Mayers gifted Jaiswal a boundary on the first ball of the fifth over, bowled by Yudhvir. Three balls later, Butter – on 5 off 14 until then – smashed a 112-metre six.
In the last over of the powerplay, Jaiswal and Buttler hit Avesh for three fours, the second of those a slash from Jaiswal that burst through Naveen’s hands at short third.
Still, Buttler was going slower than a run a ball, and it was Jaiswal who kept Royals afloat. The two added 87 in 11.3 overs; Buttler’s contribution in that was only 35 off 35.
Stoinis and Avesh turn it around
Royals were moving towards their target with little fuss when Stoinis ended the opening stand with Jaiswal’s wicket, who steered one low to Avesh at short third. The next two overs brought two more wickets; Samson was run-out and Buttler holed out to deep midwicket off Stoinis for 40 off 41.
With 56 needed from six overs, and Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer in the middle, Royals were still the favourites. Naveen leaked just five in the 15th, resulting in the required rate going past ten for the first time in the chase. Hetmyer tried to take on Avesh but was caught at long-on, only for 2. That turned the game in Super Giants’ favour, and from there on, they didn’t give Royals any chance.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo