IPL 2023: Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer help RR beat GT, go top of table | Crickit
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IPL 2023: Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer help RR beat GT, go top of table

By, Mumbai
Apr 16, 2023 11:41 PM IST

Rajasthan Royals won by three wickets against IPL champions Gujarat Titans to go to the top of the 10-team table

It was a clash for the top spot on the Indian Premier League (IPL) table, between last year’s finalists, and it ended up as an intriguing contest. Rajasthan Royals, the 2022 IPL runnrs-up, forged a late fightback to beat holders Gujarat Titans by three wickets in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Rajasthan Royals batter Shimron Hetmyer during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals(PTI)
Rajasthan Royals batter Shimron Hetmyer during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals(PTI)

Rajasthan had lost all three matches to Titans last season but scored a memorable win this time thanks to superb knocks by skipper Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer to chase down the target. Opting to bowl, RR restricted GT to 177/7 before finishing on 179/7 in 19.2 overs.

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GT skipper Hardik Pandya shared the new ball and struck the first blow with Yashasvi Jaiswal dismissed in what looked like catching practice. Beaten twice outside off-stump, the left-hander opened the face of his bat and offered a routine catch to Shubman Gill in the slip cordon.

The bigger setback for RR came the next over as Jos Buttler, who had hit three half-centuries in the last four games, was bowled by Mohammed Shami for a duck. The opener attempted a scoop but was beaten and his off-stump was knocked back.

Samson and Devdutt Padikkal added 43 runs and then Riyan Parag came and went quickly. That’s when Samson and Hetmyer got together to power Rajasthan’s fightback.

Samson, who had failed to score in his last two games, was at his best this time. He hit Rashid Khan for three sixes in a row in the 13th over before completing a 29-ball half-century. He was dismissed for 60 off 32 balls in the 15th over, but RR kept landing the punches.

Rajasthan needed 64 runs off the last five overs and got the job done with contributions from Hetmyer (56* -- 26b, 2x4, 5x6), Dhruv Jurel and R Ashwin. Jurel smashed a 10-ball 18 and Ashwin hit a four and six off his first two balls. Hetmyer finished the match with a six and four as RR won with four balls to spare.

Gujarat Titans lost the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha in the first over but the rest of the batters contributed, with three well-paced partnerships guiding them to a respectable total.

Gill looked in glorious touch again and kept the scoreboard ticking after Saha’s dismissal. He was particularly impressive against Ashwin, stepping out to the off-spinner repeatedly and hitting elegant boundaries.

Sai Sudharsan was run-out after a 19-ball 20 but Pandya upped the scoring with a flurry of boundaries. The 29-year-old, who had scored a total of 21 runs in his first three innings in the tournament, seemed set for a sizeable innings but fell in a familiar way. With Yuzvendra Chahal tossing the ball up, he miscued an attempted slog and skied it to extra cover.

Then came a crucial moment in the match as Adam Zampa dropped a straightforward return catch to hand David Miller a reprieve. The South African all-rounder left-hander got a leading edge but Zampa could not hold on to the catch.

Gill fell for a 34-ball 45 in the 16th over, but GT got a good finish thanks to Miller and Abhinav Manohar. Miller started slow and got to 11 off 14 but smashed 35 runs off the next 15 balls. Manohar provided a strong push in the end with three sixes in a 13-ball 27.

For RR, pacer Sandeep Sharma was the standout bowler with the wickets of Gill and Miller for figures of 2/25. Having bowled two brilliant yorkers in the last over to help RR edge out CSK, he delivered another disciplined spell.

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