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  • Aravind

RR vs SRH: Splendid Manish makes the Royals bow down!!

The 40th match of this year’s IPL took place between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad at Dubai International Stadium. Even though it was a contest between the two teams that are in the bottom half of the points table, it was a crucial game not only for them but also for the other teams that are vying for a spot in the playoffs. At the end of the night, the men in orange came out on top and grabbed the crucial 2 points to stay alive in the tournament.

#1 Steady Start

Rajasthan started on a bright note with Uthappa hitting some boundaries in his typical fashion, making use of the powerplay restrictions. Stokes could not get going much as he was scoring at less than run a ball. After Uthappa’s dismissal, Samson showed a little glimpse of his initial good form in this season. He timed the ball neatly and scored 36 in a quick time and got his team off to a decent score at the halfway mark.

#2 Holder Shouldering

Jason Holder was announced as the replacement for Mitchell Marsh who suffered an injury in the very first game for SRH this season. He got a chance in the playing XI tonight due to an unfortunate injury that Williamson suffered in the previous game. Holder started performing for the men in orange from the word go. He started by effecting Uthappa’s runout in the powerplay. Then he picked up the wicket of dangerous-looking Samson who was set for a big knock. Coming back in the death overs, he rocked the RR’s middle order by dismissing Smith and Parag off consecutive deliveries, denying them a strong finish with the bat.

#3 Fiery Archer

It is an odd sight when an English bowler and Aussie captain plan together to get rid of an opening pair of Aussie and English batsmen. That is what the essence of IPL is all about. Smith kept an aggressive field for Warner off Archer, and he bowled a beautiful outswinger which carried to the second slip at Stokes. Then with his sheer pace and ability to swing the ball into the right-handers, Archer dismissed Bairstow and showed him the way to the pavilion. He was almost untouchable in the opening spell of the night.

#4 Stylish Manish

Manish Pandey was not performing to his potential in this season. He was then and thereabouts throughout this year for SRH. He finally clicked off in the game against RR. Despite losing the early wickets of Warner and Bairstow, he started the counterattack against RR bowlers. He targeted Karthik Tyagi and took him to the cleaners. He cleared the boundaries at his will by playing simple and proper cricketing shots. He brought up his fifty in 28 balls and saw his team off to a much-required victory. He stayed unbeaten on 83 scoring at a strike rate of 176.6.

#5 The Finisher arrives

Vijay Shankar was in and out of the side this season due to an injury. Coming out of the injury, he bowled well in the last couple of games. Today coming in at No.4, he played the right foil for Manish who was blistering the bowlers at the other end. He took his time initially and then started rotating the strike. And then he finally took charge of the chase by hitting 3 boundaries off Archer in a single over. Hitting the winning runs, he brought up his fifty and played the role of finisher to a good extent which was one area that SRH was very much concerned about.

#6 Smith misses a trick

With the kind of form Archer has been, Smith could have considered giving an extra over to him in the powerplay after he picked up two early wickets. At that time Manish was fresh at the crease and one more wicket could have triggered the collapse of SRH’s batting as there was not much firepower left in the middle order in the absence of Williamson. But that was not the case tonight. By the time Archer returned to bowl again, Manish was well past his fifty and Vijay Shankar also was settled down to a certain extent.

#7 Not the right batting order

Stokes opening the batting has not done much good for the team and Stokes himself. So, the RR’s team management must allow the players to play at their natural positions as now they would have seen the turnaround in Uthappa’s form once he started opening the batting. Stokes can play down the order and Butler can once again open for RR where he was so successful for them in the last season. Thus, they need to get their batting order sorted out sooner as they are running out of time with the league stage nearing its end.

With SRH getting victorious tonight, they moved to the 5th position in the points table. The positive NRR has helped them to overtake RR and KXIP even though all the three teams share the same number of points. We have entered the last leg of the tournament where the result of every game brings a shuffle in positions of the teams in the points table which is pretty much exciting from the fan’s perspective. Looking forward to more twists and turns in the tournament accompanied by the shuffles in the points table as well. Cheers!

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