The Rajasthan Royals’s IPL 2023 season has been derailed in the past couple of weeks and Sunday’s loss will give RR sleepless nights, especially Sandeep Sharma.
Hero-to-villain: That’s how the Royals fans are currently looking at the bowler.
The ebbs and flows of a T20 game have always kept everyone on their toes, but the RR vs SRH match was one for the books. While Sunrisers would celebrate till the early hours, the home side found it tough to fall asleep.
In the IPL contest, it was the moments that won the match and not the top performers. All the match-winning performances came from the hosts. But being in control of 90% of the match, the Royals will rue the missed opportunities in the final over.
Once again, the inaugural champions elected to bat and the hosts put up the highest IPL score on the ground — 214/2.
After Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson’s dazzling display, the Rajasthan bowlers kept the hosts in control till the 18th over. The last two overs saw several twists and turns with the pressure building and at times showing on the players.
Glenn Phillips’s 7-ball 25 brought Sunrisers right back into a game they always looked set to lose.
Though Phillips’ stay at the crease was brief, it was more than enough to lift his team’s hopes. From needing 41 from 12, SRH needed 17 from six.
Sandeep Sharma, who has been the hero for his side in the death overs, successfully defending low scores was handed the task.
Here’s how Royals lost the game.
A look at how the last over panned out: 17 needed off 6.
19.1: Dropped! Abdul Samad dropped on 0.
Samad, the new man in, is yet to open his account. A wide yorker from Sandeep, a thick edge and Samad looks set to depart for a duck.
Obed McCoy, playing his first competitive game after October 2022, comes in from short third man and gets under the ball. But he fails to hold onto it as Samad and Marco Jansen pick up two runs off the first ball.
15 needed off five.
19.2: SIX! And another miss too!
After being handed a lifeline off the previous delivery, Samad drills a six down the ground as it goes sailing over Joe Root.
Root nearly pulls off a stunning catch, but it slips through his fingers and crosses the boundary ropes.
Back-to-back dropped catches. One has to feel for the bowler at this stage.
9 needed off four.
19.3: Once again Sandeep nails the yorker, but quick between the wickets, Samad and Jansen pick up two quick runs.
7 needed off three.
19.4: A low full toss and Samad takes a single.
6 needed off 2.
19.5: Sandeep misses the yorker. Jansen hits the low full toss straight to deep midwicket and just a single comes off it.
5 needed off 1.
19.6: Four will tie the game and take it to a super over. A six will seal the match for SRH.
Samad on strike and Sandeep, who has always held his nerve in this situation, delivers — oh wait, almost dies!
Once again, Sandeep almost nails the yorker and Samad sends it straight to long-off for only a single.
The Royals players break into celebrations as the home fans cheer. But a little too soon!
The celebrations come to a standstill as the dreaded no-ball siren goes off. The match isn’t over.
A free-hit! Three needed to tie and four to win. A golden opportunity for Sunrisers and Samad made no mistake.
Sandeep goes wide again, misses the yorker and Samad slams it back over the bowler’s head for a six.
While it did come down to the last over, RR Skipper Sanju Samson, who played a sizzling knock, had a nightmare outing behind the stumps as he failed to pick up a catch and messed up a runout.
Royals have now lost five of their last six games and Sunday’s loss will be tough to recover from.
- IPL 2023
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