IPL 2020 may have only seen 9 matches so far but it has also produced some of the most edge-of-your-seat thrillers in this short time. Sunday’s clash between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals was no different.
Having been put into bat, Kings XI openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal simply picked up from where they had left off in their previous match.
The pair raced to 60 for no loss in the powerplay and then went on to strike up a partnership of 183 - the third highest for the first wicket and the eighth highest overall in IPL history.
Tom Curran finally broke the partnership in the 17th over when he dismissed Agarwal but not before the batsman had notched up a fabulous 106 off just 50 balls with seven sixes and ten fours in his innings.
Rahul didn’t last much longer and departed in the very next over after a well-made 69 off 54 balls.
Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran were the next two in but with very few balls left in the innings. However, Maxwell’s 13* off 9 balls and Pooran’s 25* off 8 balls applied the finishing touches to the great start the openers had given and took Kings XI to a mammoth 223/2 at the end of 20 overs.
Going into the innings break, it seemed like Rajasthan would need a miracle to pull off what would be the highest ever successful run chase in the tournament’s history. Most pundits would have written off the team in pink right then and there.
However, Steve Smith’s men proved that in the shortest format of the game, it isn’t over till it’s over.
The start was poor - Jos Buttler departing in the third over itself to leave Rajasthan at 19/1.
However, skipper Smith and Sanju Samson stuck in and soon enough Rajasthan had managed 69/1 in the powerplay.
Samson hit his second successive half-century - a first for him in his IPL career - smashing 85 off just 42 balls.
He and Smith put on 81 runs for the second wicket in 40 balls. The Rajasthan skipper reached his half-century off 27 balls but fell right after to Jimmy Neesham, with Rajasthan at 100/2 after 9 overs.
At this stage Rajasthan needed 124 off 11 overs and the team decided to promote Rahul Tewatia up the order.
It seemed like a bad move to start off with - Tewatia unable to get the momentum going against either Maxwell or Ravi Bishnoi. The first 19 balls he faced only fetched 8 runs and the hard-hitting Samson was also blocked up at the other end, hardly facing any deliveries.
The 16th over, bowled by Maxwell, saw Samson latch on and hit the bowlers for three sixes, keeping the Royals in the chase.
However, the very next over saw a Mohammed Shami bouncer send Samson packing much to the dismay of the Rajasthan Royals.
Robin Uthappa kept hopes up with a string of boundaries.
But it was Tewatia who turned the games on its head in the 18th over bowled by Sheldon Cottrell. Ball 1 was pulled over long leg for a flat six. Ball 2 cleared the short square boundary and Tewatia had his second six off the over. Ball 3 saw Cottrell pitching up and Tewatia going over wide long-off for yet another maximum. Ball 4 was swept over midwicket for another flat six. And finally Ball 6 was smacked over midwicket for another six.
Tewatia had brought Rajasthan roaring back into the game with only 21 required off the last two overs.
Uthappa fell off the very first ball of the penultimate over. However, Kings XI Punjab weren’t able to celebrate for too long because Jofra Archer walked in to dispatch Shami for two consecutive sixes off the first two deliveries he faced.
Tewatia managed yet another six, this time off Shami, before he fell for a sensational 53 off 31 balls on the last delivery of the 19th over. That left the Royals needing just two runs off the last over.
And when Tom Curran smashed Murugan Ashwin for a boundary, Rajasthan registered an almost unbelievable win with a record chase under their belt. The match saw an incredible 29 sixes - 11 by Kings XI Punjab and 18 by Rajasthan Royals.
Sanju Samson was named Man of the Match.