At one stage, Sanju Samson was batting on 36 off 25 for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Could this be the innings when he finally found his form and delivered for his team? Unfortunately, it was not to be - he played onto his stumps on the very next ball, sending his team into free fall.
Though RR got a relatively assured start thanks to Robin Uthappa and Ben Stokes, the former's dismissal seemed to put the innings on hold. Stokes struggled for timing, whereas Samson looked significantly more fluent as he hit four boundaries. It so happened that after scoring above 30, both were dismissed almost immediately, bringing two new batsmen to the crease.
Those new batsmen, however, were RR's most dangerous - Steve Smith and Jos Buttler. The abject failure of the latter to score quickly - conscious of his poor record against Rashid Khan - meant the innings stalled further, with Smith's attempt at a fightback going only as far as 19 off 15 balls. It was Riyan Parag's innovative strokeplay and Jofra Archer's ball-striking that gave RR the late push they needed.
In reply, SRH got off to the worst start possible, with the ever-reliable Archer picking up both their openers, who have been crucial to most of SRH's batting performances.
More worryingly, the in-form Kane Williamson was not playing due to an injury, with Jason Holder in his place. On the night, the move worked out - Holder scalped three big wickets, while Williamson was not required with the bat as Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar polished off the chase with 11 balls to spare.
In an important game for two teams in the bottom half, SRH managed to grab the two points. Here's a quick look at the top 3 underperformers from the game.
#3 Kartik Tyagi (RR)
Young pacer Tyagi has had a relatively expensive IPL, having gone for runs in almost every game. What has been impressive, however, is his knack of taking important wickets for RR, with him being able to pick up a wicket in every game prior to this one.
This game may have worsened those stats for Tyagi. Defending a mere 155, he handed SRH 42 of those runs himself from just 3.1 overs. Pandey took heavy toll of him as he conceded six of his 7 boundaries to the man in form for SRH.
#2 David Warner (SRH)
David Warner's third ball faced travelled over the slips, a nervy thick edge produced by trying to slash hard at a delivery from Jofra Archer. RR's ace speedster then went one better, replicating an edge that this time nestled in the outstretched hands of second slip.
Warner's poor showing against express pace, in particular against Archer across formats, has been a pain point. After being exposed in a Super Over by KKR's Lockie Ferguson in the previous game, the trend continued in this one, and SRH will hope their captain can find a way to keep their prospects alive this season.
#1 Jos Buttler (RR)
After being the biggest match-winner for RR over the past couple of seasons, Buttler has waned this season, although his international experience has ensured a middle-order spot for him. The big scores have not been as easy to come by this campaign, with some of that being due to this role change.
With RR having built a slow but sizeable platform by the time Samson was dismissed, it was the perfect opportunity for Buttler to let loose. However, the keeper-batsman looked to play out spinner Rashid Khan, and was dismissed trying to carve away Vijay Shankar - one of SRH's stars on the night.
Buttler departed without scoring a single boundary for 9 off 12, leaving too much for the lower order to do.
Published 23 Oct 2020, 09:22 IST