In the clash of high-scoring, Samad and Phillips steal the show

The lowest-ranked SRH pulled off a midnight heist against the Rajasthan Royals, chasing down 215 off the penultimate ball, in one of the most exciting finishes in recent memory. Abdul Samad was given a second chance to secure a victory for SRH when Sandeep Sharma of the Rajasthan Royals bowled a no-ball with five runs needed off the final delivery. Samad took it, slamming a straight six and reviving SRH’s deflated campaign. But let’s go back to the beginning…

The typical assault

Yashasvi Jaiswal has made it a habit to get RR off to a fast start, especially now that Jos Buttler is experiencing a slump in his batting. The two openers, Jaiswal taking the lead and Buttler following, toiled their way to a half-century stand. Marco Jansen interrupted Jaiswal’s fireworks, but it didn’t stop RR from concluding a commanding powerplay with a score of 61-1.

The genuine Jos Buttler appears

That’s accurate. The talisman of RR, and possibly the main factor in their previous demise, regained his mojo and, with Sanju Samson, took on the SRH bowlers, particularly targeting Abhishek Sharma and Mayank Markande while obeying his captain’s instructions. His expression of relief, when he took the single to complete his fifty off 32 balls, tells volumes about his prowess and may portend doom for his forthcoming opponents. The fact that this is one of his slower fifty-s speaks much about his prowess.

A pink carnage and the hoodoo from the first inning

In order to reach the nineties, Jos Buttler used clubs and experimented with his bowling, while Samson by no means took a back seat, matching Buttler stroke for stroke. Before Buttler was trapped in front for 95 (thanks to DRS) by a yorker from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the two put on 138 runs in 81 balls, taking no prisoners. This was a relief for SRH and may have prevented them from needing more runs at the end. The day’s first innings total of 441 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in 40 overs spanning two games was completed by Samson with some lusty smashes in the penultimate over, hitting 17 off it.

Sluggish knife

Even with a 215-run target in front of them, SRH didn’t exactly light the world on fire. Although they had undoubtedly accelerated maturely rather than throwing a Hail Mary at the RR bowlers from the start, they had amassed 51 runs by the time Anmolpreet fell. Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi proceeded to milk the runs, keep wickets, and profit from every boundary ball available even though the needed rate was over 12.

Two significant stands

…Between Tripathi and Sharma, scoring 65 runs off 41 balls, and then 41 runs off 19 balls between Sharma and Klaasen, giving SRH the momentum and, more importantly, the conviction that they could succeed. The consistent bounds kept the pressure from building and, as a result, avoided hasty actions even though the required rate always remained higher than the present rate. Before, SRH were about to achieve something spectacular.

Yuzvendra Chahal flips the script

Yuzvendra Chahal led a vital 3-wicket collapse from 157-2 to 174-5 on a day that saw 11 wickets fall in three innings (over two double-headers). He got rid of Klaasen, Markram, and Tripathi in a two-over gap. Abdul Samad and Glenn Phillips were in the middle, with the necessary rate now close to twenty. Would SRH accept their fate or could they pull it off?

A spectacular conclusion

Glenn Phillips, who spent the majority of the season warming the bench, hit 6,6,6,4 to reduce the equation from 41 off 12 to 19 off 8. After Rinku’s sixes, he was ejected, bringing the score to 19 off 7. Just when we thought we had seen it all, Abdul Samad gave a catch to long-off with 5 needed off 1, sending the Royals into raptures. And then, it happened.

When the siren went off, it was discovered that Sandeep Sharma had gone out of bounds, changing the equation to 4 off 1. Samad then took action, kneeling down and hitting the slot ball for six to revive a game that had been lost just seconds earlier.

Next, what?

On Thursday, May 11, the Rajasthan Royals will travel to Kolkata to play the Knight Riders. The Sunrisers return home and play just one game the next weekend, on Saturday, May 13, when they host the Lucknow Super Giants.


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