Riyan Parag Spurs Rajasthan Royals to Triumph

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Parag’s stunning onslaught meant RR amassed 128 runs while losing just two wickets in the last ten overs, including 25 runs taken by Parag in the final over off Anrich Nortje, to make a competitive total that looked improbable at one point…reports Asian Lite News

Riyan Parag enthralled the home fans by smashing an eye-catchy unbeaten 84 off just 45 deliveries, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Nandre Burger picked two wickets each, followed by Sandeep Sharma and Avesh Khan producing excellent death overs bowling as Rajasthan Royals beat Delhi Capitals by 12 runs to continue the trend of home teams winning all Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 matches so far at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Thursday.

After Parag’s coming of-the-age knock, laced with seven fours and six maximums, helped RR make a competitive 185/5, captain Sanju Samson made his bowling changes spot-on and the bowlers didn’t let him down even as seam movement reduced and the threat of dew beckoned, especially with Avesh and Sandeep using yorkers and wide lines to good effect in the death overs, by restricting DC to 173/5.

Parag was slow to begin, making just 26 runs off the first 26 balls he faced, as RR made 58/3 in their first ten overs. But he flicked a switch after Ravichandran Ashwin’s pinch-hitting cameo, making 58 runs in just his next 19 balls, connecting very well with the deliveries and sending them over the boundary rope to make his best-ever IPL score, which became a match-winning effort.

His stunning onslaught meant RR amassed 128 runs while losing just two wickets in the last ten overs, including 25 runs taken by Parag in the final over off Anrich Nortje, to make a competitive total that looked improbable at one point.

Electing to bowl first, the fast-bowling pair of Khaleel Ahmed and Mukesh Kumar got swing and seam apart from using their angles well with the new ball for DC to win the power-play. Yashasvi Jaiswal’s off-stump was flattened by a seaming-in delivery from Mukesh, while Sanju Samson, after taking three boundaries off the pacer, slashed behind to Rishabh Pant after being cramped for room by a short ball from Khaleel Ahmed.

DC brought in spin immediately from both ends and it paid dividends as Kuldeep Yadav beat Jos Buttler on the reverse-sweep, and coaxed Pant to go for a review from him. Replays showed that the ball had straightened to rap Buttler in front of leg-stump, as DC got him out plumb lbw.

RR promoted Ashwin as the pinch-hitter, and he began by dancing down the pitch against Kuldeep to smack a six over long-on. He gave further impetus to RR’s innings by pulling Nortje for two sixes, before hitting straight to deep mid-wicket off Axar to fall for 29 off 19 balls.

Ashwin’s brief counterattack allowed Parag to get over his slow start and tear into Khaleel – a pick-up six over backward square leg for six, followed by slicing and lofting to get back-to-back fours. He would flick Mukesh for four, before getting his fifty in 34 balls with a flat hit over long-off for six, continuing his good run in the tournament so far.

Jurel hit three boundaries to be Parag’s perfect partner in a 52-run stand off 23 balls for the fifth wicket before the former paddled a pacy delivery from Nortje to his stumps. Hetmyer hit a six and four on Mukesh’s missed yorkers before Parag turned the heat in the final over against Nortje in a stunning exhibition of stroke-play.

Parag edged a four between Pant and short third man, before nailing the pull between mid-wicket and mid-on for another boundary. He then lofted over long-off for six and opened the bat face late to get another edged four. Parag would leave people in awe by pulling a 144kph delivery for six to take 25 runs off the final over and take RR past the 180-run mark.

In the chase, Mitchell Marsh thumped five boundaries, before being castled through the gate by a 146kph delivery from Burger, who bounced out Ricky Bhui for a duck in the same over. David Warner cut loose by scooping and lofting Trent Boult for a brace of sixes, before taking a four and six off Burger as DC ended Power-play at 59/2.

Warner continued to be DC’s aggressor, driving and pulling to collect boundaries, apart from surviving a run-out chance in the ninth over. Pant took his time to get going but used his hands well to steer and cut for two boundaries before a slog-sweep against Chahal was palmed over by deep mid-wicket to give him his first six post return to the competitive game.

The 67-run partnership off 46 balls for the third wicket ended when Warner flashed hard at an Avesh delivery and Sandeep, at short third man, moved to his right to complete a brilliant catch. In a bid to bring the required run-rate down, Pant looked to cut a wide delivery from Chahal but edged behind to Samson.

Impact Player Abishek Porel was next to fall, holing out to long-off to become Chahal’s second scalp. Tristan Stubbs, who hit a four previously off Sandeep, was lucky to be dropped at deep mid-wicket by Boult off Ashwin. To rub salt on the wound, Stubbs pulled and lofted cleanly against the off-spinner for a brace of sixes to keep DC in the hunt.

After Axar steered Avesh for four, Stubbs smacked six and four off Sandeep, who found his radar later in the over, to make the equation as 17 runs needed off the final over for victory. But Avesh kept his calm to give away only four runs in the last over to seal RR’s second successive win in the competition.

Brief scores:

Rajasthan Royals 185/5 in 20 overs (Riyan Parag 84 not out, Ravichandran Ashwin 29; Axar Patel 1-21, Khaleel Ahmed 1-24) beat Delhi Capitals 173/5 in 20 overs (David Warner 49, Tristan Stubbs 44 not out; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-19, Nandre Burger 2-29) by 12 runs

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