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Rajasthan Royals had an 87-run opening partnership between Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler but impressive performances by Lucknow Super Giants bowlers, led by Avesh Khan's 3/25 and Marcus Stoinis' 2/28 helped their team win by ten runs in an IPL 2023 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Wednesday.
At the mid-stage of the game, Rajasthan kept Lucknow to 154/7 despite Kyle Mayers making 51 and it looked like a below-par total on a two-paced pitch.
Till the 11th over, Rajasthan didn't lose any wicket and seemed to be cruising towards the target. But Stoinis taking out both openers got the match in Lucknow's favour as Rajasthan lost four wickets for 32 runs from overs 12-17. Lucknow bowlers used conditions and big leg-side boundary to dry up runs as required run-rate climbed up, resulting in Rajasthan eventually ending at 144/6 in 20 overs.
Lucknow Super Giants' win also helps them level with Rajasthan on points and retain their second place in the points table. It also makes 154/7, the lowest defended total of the season so far.
Chasing 155, Jaiswal looked good by driving Yudhvir Singh through cover for four and then quickly picked the short ball for a pulled six. Buttler, after his initial struggles, found his range by swatting Yudhvir for a 112-m massive six.
Jaiswal slashed hard at a length ball from Avesh in the final over of power-play, and the edge flew towards ul-Haq at short third man, who dropped the catch and conceded a four. He also hammered a drive for four, followed by Buttler pulling in the gap through the leg-side to hit the third boundary of the over.
Post power-play, Buttler punched Ravi Bishnoi through the off-side on a no-ball for four, while reverse-sweeping off impact player Amit Mishra for two boundaries. Jaiswal easily dispatched Stoinis for a six, but two balls later, the bowler had the last laugh as he hit straight to short third man for a low catch.
From there, the collapse began as captain Sanju Samson made a desperate late dive post a mix-up, but fell a yard short of reaching the striker's end. In the 14th over, Buttler, while trying to pull off Stoinis, holed out to deep mid-wicket.
Two overs later, Lucknow struck again when Shimron Hetmyer toe-ended a big heave to long-on. Devdutt Padikkal broke a spell of 31 balls without boundaries with a punch past Bishnoi for four in an over yielding only six runs.
He then took three boundaries off Stoinis in the 18th over, with the pull being the standout. With 29 needed off the last two balls, Riyan Parag heaved high for six, but ul-Haq gave away only ten runs in the penultimate over.
Because of slow-over rate, Lucknow could keep only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the final over. Though Parag hit the first ball for four, Avesh bounced back by having Padikkal nick behind to keeper and Dhruv Jurel holing out to long-on, thereby sealing the game in Lucknow's favour.
Earlier, pushed into batting first, Lucknow had a sedate powerplay, making only 37 runs. As Trent Boult bowled a maiden opening over, KL Rahul and Mayers remained cautious though they took a boundary each off Sandeep Sharma in the second over.
Rahul was given a life on six when Jaiswal put down a straightforward catch at extra cover in the fourth over. In the same over, Rahul could have been run-out by a yard if Jaiswal had fired in a direct hit.
Rahul had another life at 12 when his mistimed loft was dropped by Jason Holder running back from mid-off in the fifth over. In the next over, Mayers survived a close run-out at the non-striker's end as replays showed Ashwin had hit the stumps with his arm.
Lucknow finally began to show signs of intent from the eighth over as Mayers launched a six off Holder over long-off while Rahul pulled him for four. In the next over, Mayers hit Yuzvendra Chahal for a lofted six over long-off and a four swept past the keeper on successive balls, before Rahul slog-swept the leg-spinner for a massive 103-metre six.
Rahul's lucky knock ended in the 11th over when he holed out to long-on off Holder, while Ayush Badoni's promotion to number three ended in the next over when his attempted scoop resulted in uprooting his leg-stump off Boult.
Mayers drove and pulled Chahal for back-to-back fours before reaching his fifty in 40 balls. But Deepak Hooda, playing his 100th IPL game on his 28th birthday, holed out to deep square leg off Ashwin. Two balls later, the off-spinner struck again by castling Mayers.
At 129/4 in 18 overs, with the last four overs yielding only 25 runs, Nicholas Pooran attacked Holder by dispatching him for six, followed by flicking and slicing for a brace of fours as 17 runs came off the 19th over.
In the final over, Sandeep surprised Stoinis with a short ball, resulting in a feather edge being caught by Samson. A brilliant direct hit from Samson resulted in the run-out of Pooran, with him also affecting the run-out of Yudhvir on the final ball.
Brief Scores: Lucknow Super Giants 154/7 in 20 overs (Kyle Mayers 51, KL Rahul 39; Ravichandran Ashwin 2/23, Trent Boult 1/16) beat Rajasthan Royals 144/6 in 20 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 44, Jos Buttler 40; Avesh Khan 3/25, Marcus Stoinis 2/28) by 10 runs.