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IPL 2023: Hetmyer and Samson’s fifties lead Rajasthan Royals to a thrilling three-wicket win over Gujarat Titans (LD)

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AHMEDABAD, April 17 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals were literally in no man’s land at 66/4 in 12 overs chasing 178 against the Gujarat Titans bowling attack, who bowled out 26 runs in their first six overs.

With another 112 runs off 48 balls, not many would give them a chance of victory. But captain Sanju Samson let loose by taking 20 off Rashid Khan in the 13th over to make 60 at the end while Shimron Hetmir hit an unbeaten whirlwind of 56 off just 26 balls to give Rajasthan an improbable three-wicket win.

The recent astonishing steal also means Rajasthan maintain their top spot in the points table with eight points. Samson and Hetmyer added a crucial 59-run stand off 27 balls, then the latter added 47 runs from 20 deliveries with Dhruv Jurel completing the chase with four balls to spare.

Mohammed Shami built the pressure from the word go while upsetting Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler. Gujarat was rewarded when Hardik Pandya slipped Jaiswal while Butler’s attempt at an alienation backfired as Shami sent the stump out for a spin on the wheel.

Gujarat would have taken their third wicket had Shubman Gill grabbed a hard-hitting chance to sack Devdut Padikal. After a display of strength finished on 26/2, Rashid Padikal was caught by a short third man as Ryan Barrage was made a diving long front-runner.

With Rajasthan on 66/4 in 12 overs, Samson breathed life back into the waning chase by hitting Rashid in a hat-trick of six – once a long run while hauling twice over deep mid-wicket. Hetmir leapfrogged Josef by overtaking a square leg deep jump for six and running in the same area for another four.

After getting his fifty off 29 balls, Samson faced debutant bowler Noor Ahmed, driving long for six and skipping short leg for four. But the teenager, who came off as an influential player of a generation, had the last laugh as Samson cruised the long haul for his first IPL wicket.

Hetmir stood tall by being hit with two giant blows from Josef on the 16th, with Gurel dancing for a count of four. Rashid then pulled for four, before hitting a six over long to take 13 from 18. Gurel bowled Shamy a long for six, but the gauntlet bounced back by having him beat a hook to a fine leg over.

Ravichandran Ashwin slapped his first ball over a point for four, and followed it up with a drawn six over mid-wicket. Although Ashwin fell after chipping at third man short, Hetmir ended the chase by hauling Ahmed on deep mid-wicket for six to complete a thrilling chase for Rajasthan.

Earlier, David Miller was dropped for a six on his seventh ball as Adam Zampa made a mess of regulations caught and bowled chance. He top-scored with 46 from 30 balls and led Gujarat to a competitive 177/7.

Apart from Miller, Gujarat also got 45 from Gill, 28 from Hardik and 27 from Abhinav Manohar at the back end. For Rajasthan, pacer Sandeep Sharma was the choice bowler with 2/25, while Zampa, Yuzvendra Chahal and Trent Boult took wickets each.

After being pushed into batting first, Wriddhiman gave Saha a fat top advantage on the hoick and with the goalie converging as well as two fielders converging, Bolt picked up the rebound from the keeper’s gloves. Sai Sudarsan hit four batters, before he was run out for 20.

Gill used his feet well to get close to the field of the ball to sweep through Ashwin and put it up for four consecutive overs. Hardik, promoting himself to the fourth rank, promptly attacked Zampa by swinging to the floor for fours and sixes respectively.

Ashwin had more offense as Gill continued to use his feet to rise over extra cover for four and over for six, while Hardik got the outside advantage past the short third man for four as he got 17 out.

But Chahal shattered the 59-run partnership by having Hardik go for a cross, but the ball swirled wide to edge over the edge to cover the extra. Five times later, Gill is holed up for a long time off Sandeep. After being put out at six, Miller hit Chahal to score two runs from six sixes in the leg side.

Manohar Bolt hit for six in a row in the 18th minute – a long haul followed by a long haul. Next over, Miller pulled Zampa for a four, before Manohar launched leg spinner high on a long reach for a six.

But Zampa has the last laugh by Manohar slicing the signal. Miller cracked four consecutive Yorkers wide from Sandeep through the far side, before slicing a high full toss into deep cover, 11 runs out of the final.

Brief scores: Gujarat Titans 177/7 in 20 overs (David Miller 46, Shubman Gill 45; Sandeep Sharma 2/25, Adam Zampa 1/32) lost to Rajasthan Royals 179/7 in 19.2 overs (Sanju Samson 60, Shimron Hetmyer 56 not out; Mohammed Shami 3/25, Rashid Khan 2/46) by three wickets.

– Jans

is / ak

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