A neat bowling performance helped Rajasthan Royals restrict Lucknow Super Giants to 154/7 despite Kyle Mayers' fighting fifty in Match 26 of IPL 2023 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Wednesday.
On a pitch which has not been easy for stroke-play, Lucknow did not lose a wicket in the powerplay but made only 37 runs.
From there, Rajasthan bowlers, led by Ravichandran Ashwin's 2/23 and a terrific last over from Sandeep Sharma, kept things tight. Despite some big overs, Lucknow never got the desired finishing kick, with Mayers being the standout performer though he struggled to time the ball for a large part of his stay at the crease.
Pushed into batting first, Lucknow had a sedate powerplay. With a hint of assistance for Rajasthan bowlers, as Trent Boult bowled a maiden opening over, KL Rahul and Kyle Mayers had to be circumspect though they took a boundary each off Sandeep in the second over.
Rahul was given a life on six when Yashasvi Jaiswal put down a straightforward catch at extra cover off Sandeep 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 call 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 through mid-wicket 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 with a quicker delivery.
At 129/4 in 18 overs, with the last four overs yielding only 25 runs, Nicholas Pooran attacked Holder by dispatching him over long-leg 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 Marcus Stoinis with a short ball, resulting in a feather edge being caught by keeper Sanju Samson. A brilliant direct hit from Samson resulted in the run-out of Pooran, with him also affecting the run-out of Yudhvir Singh 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) against Rajasthan Royals