This has been one of the most exciting matches of IPL 2020 till now. It had so many turning points. When KXIP posted that total on the scoreboard, we saw worried faces among the fans of RR. Will RR be able to do it? KXIP was quite satisfied by it’s performance and was planning to send RR for a quick walk back into the dug out. But, it was anything but that! How the players of RR lived up to the moment and brought home victory is worth this discussion. They played against all expectations and won! They have created history in the highest successful run chase in IPL which is in stark contrast to the fact that they were literally seen as the underdogs in this match.
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RR had won the toss and sent in KX1P to bat first. They went ahead and made a record total of 223. Mayank Aggarwal and K.L.Rahul put on 194 runs together. Pooran had added another 25 runs off 12 balls to boost the total in the last over, to 223. The match appeared to have been won by KX1P.
RR came in to bat but lost the highly anticipated player, Jos Butler quickly. The next two batsmen Sanju Samson and Steve Smith carried on with the run chase in style. They garnered a rate of 10 per over. All the bowlers of KXIP – Shami, Archer, Bishnoi – were hammered. RR were in the game. Suddenly, Neesham removed Smith (50 of 27 balls). Maxwell too bowled tight overs and KX1P was back in the game. Samson in the attack to maintain run rate above 10 but Tewatia was unable to tackle Bishnoi’s spin and he consumed 19 balls for just 8 runs. Everyone was surprised why Tewatia was sent to bat, he was obviously struggling to connect with the ball.
Samson continued his heroics but got out making 85 in just 42 balls. The score was 164/2. 59 runs needed in 23 balls for RR to win. The match appeared to have gotten away from RR. All of a sudden, Tewatia transformed into a completely different batsman! He hit 5 sixes in the 18th over bowled by Cotrell. Whatever got into him was a welcome change by the RR team because his vital sixes turned the score – 203/3. May be not with the ball, but he did finally perform with the bat.
In the 19th over Jofra Archer hit 2 consecutive sixes and a single. Tewatia hit the vital six at 18.5 and got out. 19 runs scored off Shami’s over already and the match had suddenly turned towards RR in a matter of one over. Tewatia was out on the last ball of Shami’s over. Now 2 runs from 6 balls were needed for RR to win. In a way the match was virtually won by RR. But Parag walks in next and is bowled out. The last over suspense was killing the fans but to everyone’s relief , Tom Curran comes next and finishes off the match in style! A near impossible score chased down in style with 3 balls to spare.
One point to be noted is that, be it any team, the fitness of players is vital. Pooran while fielding at long off saved a sure six hit by Sanju Samson with an acrobatic dive. It was an awesome display of fitness in contrast to Sarfaraz Ahmed who missed a skyer of a catch hit by Samson much early in his innings because he was not agile enough to get under the ball.
This match has proved that no matter how talented the team is, it always needs that one magical player who could support the good players’ performance with his magical performance.