WATCH: Tammy Beaumont's innovative stroke from behind the stumps
15 July 2021
The familiar story of snatching defeat from the jaws of defeat continued for the Punjab Kings as they slipped into another infuriating loss against the Rajasthan Royals after acing the chase till the last over of the game.
Superlative fifties from the skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal kept them ahead of the curve and then the partnership between Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran strolled in the chase of 186 runs.
However, with just four runs requiring off the final over, Karthik Tyagi first denied them boundaries on the first few balls and then took the wicket of Pooran to send the Kings on the know territory of disappointing final over.
He followed it up with a dot ball and the wicket of Deepak Hooda to make what was looking like a walk in the park a tough ask of three runs of the final ball for Fabian Allen.
With the win, the Royals surged to the of the table while the Kings slipped to on the points table of the ongoing edition of the IPL 2021.
When Karthik Tyagi started the final over of the game against the Kings, the game seemed to be over for the Royals but the ability of the Kings to make a defeating position for themselves from any situation kept them in the game.
The last time any bowler defended four runs in an over, he would have been in secondary school and it tells how the odds were heavily stacked against him and the Royals. Unknown to what was ahead of him, he could not deliver the first ball on the perfect spot but Pooran failed to capitalise on it.
He did not repeat the mistake though and delivered balls in the blockhole one after the other and denied both Markram and Pooran any opportunity to get under.
Reducing the equation to three runs off the last four balls, he first removed Pooran with a yorker that the left-hander jarred to the skipper Samson. He tactically bowled the next two delivery wide from Deepak Hooda and removed him on the penultimate delivery.
Having reduced the equation significantly in the favour of the Royals with three required off the last ball which was to be faced by the new batsman Fabian Allen, Karthik did not relent from the yorker length and as soon as he missed, there was a sense of jubilation in the Royals camp and despair and disbelief in the Kings' camp.
If not for the two wickets and immense discipline with the ball in the last over, the night would have been a middling one for the young Indian pacer, but he made sure to put his hands up when the Royals needed a special performance.
The Kings needed momentum at the top of the order in pursuit of 186 runs but unlike the recent past, Mayank Agarwal was not the aggressor for them. Instead, he was struggling in the first five overs while KL Rahul was going all guns blazing from the other end.
Until the first five overs, his score appeared pedestrian with just nine runs off the 14 balls before Mustafizur Rahman allowed him space to get under the ball. He lifted a slower ball over the bowler’s head to get going and never looked back since then.
Rahul Tewatia allowed him the same space in the next over and the right-hander was up to it.
However, the flood gates opened for him in the next over delivered by Tyagi, who offered him three half volleys to feats upon. From nine runs off 14 runs, Agarwal quickly surged to a 27-ball 35 by the end of the eighth over.
The hard-earned momentum was not squandered by him and the most expansive player in the Royals setup—Chris Morris was despatched for two effortless sixes in the 10th over to establish their domination in the game.
Agarwal would be disappointed with not finishing the job for his side but his innings kept the Kings ahead in the game till his dismissal.
When Arshdeep Singh was brought into the attack by KL Rahul, he was desperate to end the first partnership between Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal and the young pacer from Punjab did just that by sending the West Indian left-hander back to the pavilion.
He was held back for some unknown reasons at that time but his exploit in the wake of desperate Royals’ batsmen ratified the call by KL Rahul. After a successful over, he was brought back to the attack only in the 12th over when the Kings were looking to send back another dangerous batsman in Livingstone. He once again succeded although Allen was the major reason behind Livingstone’s departure.
Just like the first over, he was again taken off the bowling attack as Rahul had other ambitious plans for him. He was held back till the last four overs and was brought back to bowl the tough 18th and the 20th over.
By the end of the 16th over, the Royals were well poised to go past the 200 runs on the board but the Kings bowlers had other plans in mind, and best of them all was Arshedeep Singh who dismissed yet another dangerous-looking batsman in Mahipal Lomror to check the Royals’ juggernaut.
He finished the game with a fabulous fifer to showcase his repertoire of variations to keep on providing big and tactical wickets in different phases of the game.
“I would like to say that I have the biggest match-winner sitting alongside me. So, I don’t have any worries. There is no pressure. We all love and enjoy playing with Chris. With Chris in our side, I feel that happy days are ahead of us.”
These were the words of the Royals skipper Sanju Samson before their first game of the second phase of the IPL 2021 and he had little idea of how those words will come upside down for him and his side against the Kings.
Morris was introduced into the attack when Samson asked him to remove the threatening pair of Rahul and Agarwal. To be fair to Morris, he would have dismissed Rahul if Riyan Parag would not have spilt a relatively easy chance.
Morris’ second over came as a nightmare for both him and the Royals as he offered two juicy half volleys to Agarwal and he obliged with two crisp flicks that sailed over the long leg boundary. To make things worse and embarrassing for the men in pink, his misery was snot over and he conceded two more boundaries in the over to provide proper lift to the Kings opening pair.
A bowling figure of 2-0-31-0 was not becoming for the stature of Chris Morris and things turned so bad for him that his skipper who had proclaimed him as a match-winner before the game, could bowl him only three overs that yielded a whopping 47 runs.
Adil Rashid has been a champion leg spinner in the international arena for some time now and hence his non-selection in the IPL auction has attracted many criticisms over the past few years.
His variations and experience were too good to be ignored for a long time and the Kings opted to rope him as a replacement for Jhye Richardson for the second phase of the tournament.
However, like a lot of international stars have faced in the IPL, Rashid was treated with absolute disrespect by fearless batsmen in Jaisawal and Lomror who thrashed his inaccurate line and lengths which were so out of place for an experienced campaigner like him.
Rashid tried a lot of googlies against the left-handers but his control over length was horrible and both Jaisawal and Lomror charged him to hit over the top and followed them up by waiting deep inside the crease preempting a shorter delivery from him.
It was a fascinating battle between a champion spinner who has been flummoxing batsmen across the world with his variations and two young Indian batsmen who were playing his deliveries with a fearless approach and not his reputation.
The Royals will be cock-a-hoop over this close win over the Kings that has kept them in contention for the final stage of the tournament while the Kings have been forced into a quagmire to ask themselves a tough question of for how long things can go like this.