Brief scores: Punjab Kings 221/6 (Rahul 91, Hooda 64, Gayle 40, Sakariya 3/31) beat Rajasthan Royals 217/7 (Samson 119, Parag 25, Arshdeep 3/35) by four runs
Punjab Kings (PBKS) squared up against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the fourth game of IPL 2021 on Monday. Prior to this, all the other teams had begun their campaign but no other game produced as good a contest as this one. The two “underachievers” in IPL, PBKS and RR, never fail to produce a spectacle whenever they take on each other in the IPL. Both teams scored over 200 runs each in their respective innings.
Riding on KL Rahul’s eventual match-winning knock of 91 off 50 balls, Punjab posted 221 runs in the first innings. But it was the eventual Man-of-the-Match and RR skipper Sanju Samson who kept them in the hunt till the very last ball of the chase. His heart-warming 119, however, went in vain as RR fell short of the target by 4 runs in the end.
On that note, here’s a look at three major talking points of the fourth match between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals:
Sanju Samson’s heart-warming century (119 off 63) on debut as skipper
Nobody has ever questioned Sanju Samson’s potential in white-ball cricket. Every year, we witness a few brilliant knocks from the right-hander in IPL. However, the one he played on Monday against Punjab should surpass all of them.
Playing his first game as captain in IPL, Samson showed a lot more maturity and anchored the chase for his side. Wickets kept falling at one end but the RR skipper made sure that he kept taking on the opposition bowlers and didn’t let the asking rate go beyond the reach at virtually every moment of the match. There was a lot more caution than aggression in his approach.
He took his time initially before taking the opposition to the cleaners. Samson hit 7 sixes and 12 fours en-route his 119 off 63 balls. He paced the innings beautifully and took the game till the very last over of the game.
Needing 5 runs off the last two balls, Samson declined the single and retained the strike for the last ball. It raised a few eyebrows as Morris, who has the reputation of hitting big hits, was at the other end. However, given the fact that the South African had only faced 4 deliveries and had just come in to bat, it was a judicious decision for Sanju to keep the strike.
He hit the last ball over cover only to find a man in the deep. Rajasthan might have lost the game but Samson won countless hearts for playing such an outstanding knock under pressure.
Rahul-Hooda partnership (105 off 44 balls)
Ever since KL Rahul started playing for Punjab, he has looked a completely different batsman. Today’s innings was one of many he has played for the franchise, over the years.
Last year, he was guilty of not playing those big innings with a healthy strike rate. With his match-winning 91, he has put that debate to rest as well.
Rahul stitched a useful 67-run partnership for the second wicket with Chris Gayle in the first innings. After Chris Gayle (40 off 28) got out, Punjab surprised everyone by sending Deepak Hooda ahead of Nicholas Pooran.
However, the 25-year-old took no time to silence the noise as he produced arguably his finest knock in T20 cricket. Hooda pounced on all the deliveries which were in the slot and struck as many as 6 sixes and 4 fours during his useful knock of 64 runs off just 28 balls. He stitched a game-changing 105-run partnership off just 44 balls with Rahul to help Punjab Kings post a mammoth 221 in 20 overs.
Debutant Chetan Sakariya (3/31) proves his worth on the big stage
Chetan Sakariya, who once did not have the boots to play the sport, made his debut for Rajasthan Royals in IPL on Monday. He came into the limelight after picking 12 wickets at a frugal economy of 4.90 in the 2020-21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
During this time, Sakariya suffered a personal tragedy as his younger brother died by suicide. Sakariya’s family did not inform Chetan about the incident until the completion of that season. Three weeks later, he was bought by Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021 auctions for a whopping amount of Rs 1.2 crores.
In his first game for RR, he bowled with a lot more control than most of the other bowlers and pitched the bowl at the right areas. The left-arm-seamer bowled both in the power play as well as death overs. He ended the game with impressive figures of 3 for 31 in 4 overs.
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Questions to Answer:
Jos Buttler vs Ben Stokes
1. Rajasthan Royals played Jos Buttler at number four and opened with Ben Stokes. Well, Jos Buttler at the top for England have done wonders and Ben Stokes can be handy at number 4 with the middle order to follow. This question has left the cricketing world baffled.
2. Nicholas Pooran stepped in to bat in the 17th over of the innings for Punjab. After witnessing Hooda’s heroics at number four. Was it a tactical move to keep Pooran with the Shahrukh Khan at six for death-over exploit or Punjab will follow the same template?
1. Chris Gayle became the first player to hit 350 Sixes in the history of IPL.
2. KL Rahul completed 2000 runs in IPL for Punjab.
3. Sanju Samson became the first Captain to hit a century on debut in IPL, also, the youngest to do so.
What lies ahead for both sides?
The victory for Punjab Kings will hold them together and give them a lot of confidence going into the further contests. They will play their next game against CSK and would be confident of beating them in what will be the eighth game scheduled in the coveted championship on Friday.
Rajasthan Royals would like to forget what happened in the past and move ahead in the tournament. They will play their next game against Delhi Capitals on Thursday.