Young pacer seals the deal for Punjab Kings

Wednesday 14th April 2021 10:32 EDT

Sanju Samson's Rajasthan Royals, chasing a daunting target of 222, nearly made it over the line before Punjab Kings' young pacer Arshdeep Singh kept his cool in the last over to seal the deal for Punjab Kings. Throughout the chase, Samson (119 off 63 balls) had kept his cool. Though he became the first debutant captain to score a century in the IPL history, he could not take his team over the line as the Kings sneaked in a four-run victory at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday. With 13 required from the last over, Punjab seamer Arshdeep Singh (3-35) kept his nerves in check and gave no room to the firing Samson and took his team home.

RR tried their luck with the new opening pair of Ben Stokes and Manan Vohra, but in vain. The two departed within the first four overs with the scoreline teetering at 25/2. Samson soaked in the pressure and gave the team a hope of a happy ending, but ran out of support from the other end.

Earlier, put in to bat, Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul, the highest run-getter in the previous edition, made his intent clear once again as he slammed 91 off 50 balls while anchoring the innings. Courtesy some brutal hitting, Punjab posted a daunting total of 221/6, thanks in part to Deepak Hooda’s incredible 28-ball 64.

As Rahul took his time to settle down, Chris Gayle (40 off 28 balls) paced the innings, taking Punjab’s powerplay score of 46/1 to 89/1. In came IPL veteran Deepak Hooda with all guns blazing, and promptly demolished the RR attack.

Knight Riders begin with a bang

With Kolkata Knight Riders hitting their straps from the get-go, there was little the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper could have done but wonder what could’ve been after he put the opposition in. The Knights found the gaps at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai with their left-right opening combination of Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill getting along like a house on fire. Their bowling unit nicely complementing the batting effort.

Rana has been an important part of the KKR outfit ever since he was acquired by them in 2018 and he once again proved his worth with an impressive 80, an innings of percentage cricketing shots that powered his team to 187 for six. Unlike KKR, Sunrisers suffered for want of momentum and finished at 177 for five to fall short by 10 runs despite Abdul Samad’s late charge - the same margin by which they lost to RCB in their first match last edition.

Shaw-Shikhar tango floors CSK

The last few months have been a roller-coaster ride for Prithvi Shaw. On Saturday, the 21-year-old opener showed why he is rated so highly as his sparkling innings of 72 from 38 deliveries and the 138-run opening wicket stand with Shikhar Dhawan (85) helped Delhi Capitals cruise past Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. A stiff target of 189 set by CSK demanded a strong start from the DC openers. Shaw and Dhawan provided just that with their 82-ball blitz. The duo took little time to get going. They were severe on the loose deliveries and pierced through the gaps with surgical precision. Shaw began with a boundary over square-leg in the second ball of his innings. Dhawan too teed off with a four behind point region to signal his intentions. By the time the Powerplay overs concluded, the Shaw-Dhawan pair had knocked off 65 runs from their target and they were just getting started. The duo’s onslaught left CSK skipper MS Dhoni searching for answers.

Last-ball win for RCB

In the inaugural game of the IPL’s 14th edition which was held in Chennai, the defending champions Mumbai Indians eventually lost by two wickets to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). MI struggled against quality medium-pace – especially Harshal and Siraj – before limping to 159/9. So was the case when the Royal Challengers batted, with Marco Jansen and Jasprit Bumrah bowling tight lengths to keep Virat Kohli’s team in check. However, it was AB de Villiers’ 27-ball 48 that kept Bangalore in the chase. Piling on after Virat Kohli’s 33 and Glenn Maxwell’s 39 had set the tone, ABD stayed almost until the end before Patel had to finish the proceedings.

Batting first, Rohit Sharma opened MI’s innings with Chris Lynn. Sundar took a great catch running backward to send Lynn back while 30-year-old Patel picked up 5/27 off four overs. The total was just about par and RCB huffed and puffed to the target.

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