Two dark horses of IPL 2021 clashed on Tuesday for a winning start in the second leg. Rajasthan, a team full of young talents were without their England stars. Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes all were unavailable for them. Meanwhile, Punjab Kings were boosted by the presence of Adil Rashid. The PBKS vs RR matchup thus became a fascinating one for the fans. Also, the captaincy of KL Rahul is under scrutiny as he on of the future leader to captain India.
KL Rahul won the toss and elected to bowl first as he thought there will be a due factor in the second half. Thus according to his plan chasing should be an easier task to perform. Debutant Ishan Porel opened the bowling along with senior partner Mohammed Shami. However, they could not prevent a great start for the Royals as Yashasvi Jaiswal and Evin Lewis got off to a flier with the bat. Eventually, the partnership was broken by Arshdeep Singh in the sixth over of the first inning. After that KL Rahul with a strange-looking plan finished Porel's full quota of over within the first ten overs. Despite, Porel going for plenty in his spell including a 17-run over. However, Porel was able to take the valuable wicket of Sanju Samson in his third over. Royals completed 100 runs in just 11 overs.
With a sight of a 200+ score in the first inning, Jaiswal and Livingstone kept on hitting regular boundaries. Even Adil Rashid went to the fences many times. Once both of them got out (Livingstone 25, Jaiswal 49), it was Mahipal Lormor who took the initiative for the Royals. Lormor looked dangerous for his 43 off 17 balls with four sixes and two fours.
But, after the fall of Lomror, it was all about Shami and Arshdeep Singh who cleaned up the tail for the Punjab team. Royals fell like a house of cards as Arshdeep claimed his first five-wicket haul in IPL and Shami took another three wickets in the death. Arshdeep finished with a career-best 4-32-5. Royals fell down to 185/10 in 20 overs.
With Aiden Markram in the side, it was quite tentative to open with him. But, Punjab stuck with their favourable Karnataka buddies in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. And, they did not disappoint them as well. However, the first few overs from Mustafizur Rahaman and Chetan Sakariya were on the mark, but after the third over Agarwal started cash into some average bowling from Royals.
Few below standard fielding efforts did not help in that course either. KL Rahul got dropped thrice by Evin Lewis, Riyan Parag and Chetan Sakariya.
With a blink of an eye, the opening pair completed their fifty-run partnership. After that, their fourth 100-run partnership did not take that much time as well. Mayank Agarwal scored the bulk of the runs a KL Rahul kept on supporting him. Terrific down the ground hitting from Agarwal was one of the highlights of the match. Meantime, KL Rahul became the fastest Indian to score 3000 IPL runs. Samson was forced to bring on his most senior pro, Chris Morris. Though, when he went for a 25-run over, Samson looked clueless as a captain. Eventually, the partnership was broken by Chetan Sakariya. Rahul was the batsman to go for 32 runs off 19 balls.
Rahul Tewatia then trapped Mayank Agarwal with a flighted leg spin but he had done his job till then. Agarwal went for a well-made 67 runs off 43 balls. After the 15th over, Punjab only needed 38 off 30 balls with eight wickets in hand with Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram in the crease.
Pooran broke his jinks as he went on to make his highest score of IPL 2021. With needing only 4 runs of the last over, Pooran got caught behind by Samson off Kartik Tyagi on the 3rd ball of the over. Tension crept in for both the teams as Punjab is always the team that has the reputation of not finishing matches. Tyagi bowled another dot ball to Deepak Hooda. One ball later, Hooda went for a duck leaving his team needing 3 to win in the last ball. And, at last, Kartik Tyagi became the hero as Fabian Allen was not able to score in the last ball. Royals defeated Punjab by 2 runs as the habit of losing easy matches continues for KL Rahul and co.