Samson blitz rescues Rajasthan Royals

With Rajasthan at 66/4 in 12 overs, Samson breathed life back in the waning chase by hitting Rashid for a hat-trick of sixes…reports Asian Lite News

Rajasthan Royals were literally in a no man’s land at 66/4 in 12 overs in pursuit of chasing down 178 against a Gujarat Titans bowling attack, who bowled 26 dot balls in the first six overs.

With 112 more runs off 48 balls, not many would have given them a chance for a victory. But captain Sanju Samson unleashed by taking 20 runs off Rashid Khan in the 13th over to eventually make 60 while Shimron Hetmyer smashed a whirlwind unbeaten 56 off just 26 balls to give Rajasthan an improbable three-wicket victory.

The stunning last-over heist also means Rajasthan retain their top spot on the points table with eight points. Samson and Hetmyer added a crucial stand of 59 runs off 27 balls, followed by the latter adding 47 runs off 20 deliveries with Dhruv Jurel to complete the chase with four balls to spare.

Mohammed Shami built pressure from the word go while troubling Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler. Gujarat were rewarded when Hardik Pandya had Jaiswal nicking to slip while Buttler’s attempt to scoop backfired as Shami sent the off-stump on a cartwheel ride.

Gujarat could have got their third wicket had Shubman Gill held on to a tough chance at slip to dismiss Devdutt Padikkal. After the powerplay ended at 26/2, Rashid had Padikkal caught by short third man while Riyan Parag holed out to a forward diving long-off.

With Rajasthan at 66/4 in 12 overs, Samson breathed life back in the waning chase by hitting Rashid for a hat-trick of sixes — once over long-off while pulling twice over deep mid-wicket. Hetmyer took on Joseph by heaving past leaping deep square leg for six and slogging through the same region for four more.

After getting his fifty in 29 balls, Samson took on debutant spinner Noor Ahmad, lofting a drive over long-off for six and pulling past short fine leg for four. But the teenager, coming in as an impact player for Gill, had the last laugh as Samson skied to long-off to get his first IPL wicket.

Hetmyer stood tall by smacking two gigantic sixes off Joseph in the 16th over, with Jurel dabbing for a four. He then pulled Rashid for four, before slamming a six over long-on to take 13 runs off the 18th over. Jurel smacked Shami over long-on for six, but the pacer bounced back by having him top-edge a hook to fine leg.

Ravichandran Ashwin slapped his first ball over point for four, and followed it up with a pulled six over deep mid-wicket. Though Ashwin fell after slicing to short third man, Hetmyer finished off the chase by pulling Ahmad over deep mid-wicket for six to complete a sensational chase for Rajasthan.

Earlier, David Miller was dropped on six on his seventh ball as Adam Zampa made a mess of a regulation caught and bowled chance. He went on to top-score with 46 off 30 balls and powered Gujarat to a competitive 177/7.

Apart from Miller, Gujarat were also aided by 45 from Gill, 28 from Hardik and 27 from Abhinav Manohar at the back end. For Rajasthan, pacer Sandeep Sharma was pick of bowlers with 2/25, while Zampa, Yuzvendra Chahal and Trent Boult took a wicket each.

Pushed into batting first, Wriddhiman Saha gave a fat top-edge on a hoick and with wicketkeeper as well as two fielders converging, Boult took a catch on rebound off keeper’s gloves. Sai Sudharsan struck two fours, before being run out for 20.

Gill used his feet well in getting close to the pitch of the ball for sweeping and lofting off Ashwin for back-to-back fours. Hardik, promoting himself to number four, immediately attacked Zampa by swinging down the ground for a four and six respectively.

Ashwin came under further attack as Gill continued to use his feet to loft over extra cover for four and over long-on for six, while Hardik got an outside edge running past short third man for four as 17 runs came off the over.

But Chahal broke the 59-run partnership by having Hardik go for a cross-bat heave, but the ball spun away to take a top-edge to extra cover. Five overs later, Gill holed out to long-on off Sandeep. After being put down on six, Miller smacked Chahal for a brace of sixes in the leg-side.

Manohar hit Boult for back-to-back sixes in the 18th over a pull over long-on was followed by pummeling over long-off. In the next over, Miller pulled Zampa for four, before Manohar launched the leg-spinner high over long-on for six.

But Zampa had the last laugh by having Manohar slicing to point. Miller cracked consecutive fours on wide yorkers from Sandeep through the off-side, before slicing a high full toss to deep cover, as 11 runs came off the final over.

Brief Scores: Gujarat Titans 177/7 in 20 overs (David Miller 46, Shubman Gill 45; Sandeep Sharma 2/25, Adam Zampa 1/32) lost to Rajasthan Royals 179/7 in 19.2 overs (Sanju Samson 60, Shimron Hetmyer 56 not out; Mohammed Shami 3/25, Rashid Khan 2/46) by three wickets.

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