Rajasthan Royals kept their chances of making the IPL 2019 playoffs alive after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad by 7 wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium at Jaipur on Saturday (April 27).
All of RR’s top-order batsmen chipped in with valuable knocks as they chased down a target of 161 with ease, finishing the match with 5 balls to spare.
Ajinkya Rahane opened the batting with Liam Livingstone and the two started well, with Livingstone in particular looking to take on the bowlers regularly.
The two put together a 78-run stand for the first wicket before Rashid Khan got Livingstone to edge one to Wriddhiman Saha at the beginning of the 9th over.
The wicket and the fact that SRH skipper Kane Williamson continued to deploy his slower bowlers did bring down the scoring rate, even though Sanju Samson got a six early on in his innings.
The pressure eventually paid off as Rahane went for a big shot off Shakib Al Hasan but only managed to find David Warner at long-off.
This brought Smith to the crease, who showcased his intentions early by using his feet against Shakib and hitting him for a four wide of long-on.
Samson then took on Siddarth Kaul in the next over, hitting him for two consecutive boundaries and running well to ensure RR took 14 runs off the over.
They put together 55 runs for the 4th wicket and seemed set to take RR home before Smith looked to hook Khaleel Ahmed, only managing to find Kaul at fine-leg, who took the catch despite a fumble.
Yet at that point RR needed only 13 runs in 3 overs. Ashton Turner came out and finally opened his account in the IPL, something that drew some applause from his teammates as well the fielders.
The game was eventually finished by Samson, who hit a boundary on the first ball of the final over to take RR to their fifth win of the season.
Earlier after being put in to bat first, SRH were on course for a big total but a middle-order collapse saw them manage to put only 160-8 on the board.
RR’s fielding was poor throughout the innings despite the odd moment of brilliance and some misfields early on saw SRH start well.
Williamson departed cheaply when he was bowled by Shreyas Gopal but Manish Pandey and David Warner played some attacking shots that took SRH to 86-1 in the first 10 overs.
The game-changing moment came in the 13th over when Warner attempted to smash Oshane Thomas for a six but top-edged it, with Smith taking a fine diving catch to dismiss his compatriot.
Pandey fell victim to Gopal on the final ball of the 15th over when he was stumped by Samson, with replays suggesting he had actually edged the ball before he was stumped.
Vijay Shankar holed out to Varun Aaron in the next over and Deepak Hooda was caught and bowled by Jaydev Unadkat thereafter.
Wriddhiman Saha, Shakib Al Hasan and Bhuvneshwar all departed cheaply as well. Only a four and a six from Rashid Khan on the final two balls of the 20th over ensured SRH ended the innings with a flourish.