VISAKHAPATNAM: An overall strong team performance and a thrilling finish from the Rajasthan Royals helped them beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets on the last ball of the match to earn their fourth successive victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the ACA-VDCA Stadium here on Thursday.
Put in to bat by Royals skipper Steven Smith, the Sunrisers were restricted to a mere 127/5 from their 20 overs.
In reply, the visitors were steady but extremely slow, considering the low target. However, the Royals chased down the required score off the last delivery as opener Ajinkya Rahane top scored with a match-winning 62.
At the start, the Sunrisers never really got any partnership going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Leg spinner Pravin Tambe (2/21), the oldest player of the tournament at 43, and medio Dhawal Kulkarni (2/9) were the star performers as the duo made sure they kept the Sunrisers’ run rate in check. Together they bowled seven overs, including a maiden, taking two wickets and giving away only 30 runs.
There were a few mediocre performances from Sunrisers batsman. Captain David Warner (21), wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha (25), Eoin Morgan (27) and Ravi Bopara (23 not out) got starts but none of them were able to play the anchor’s innings to take the home team to a challenging total.
Chasing 128, the Royals played patiently as opening batsmen Rahane and Sanju Samson (26) struck an important 64-run partnership. Though they were off to a good start, they were quite slow in their chase which tightened things up towards the end, thanks to some disciplined bowling from the Sunrisers.
Wickets in hand proved to be Royals’ boon. With only one run needed off the last ball, James Faulkner connected well to put the ball past the point boundary for the visiting team.
Rahane was the star performer as he caressed nine boundaries in his 56-ball innings. However, a slow chase meant that the Royals had to wait till the last ball to win the match but wickets in hand eased off the pressure for them.