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2.3 overs (0 Run)
No run, that is punched off the back foot but straight to the fielder.
2.2 overs (4 Runs)
FOUR! Just over! 600 runs for Rahul in this Indian T20 League and he brings it up in style. It is short and wide outside off. Width on offer and Rahul cashes in. He cuts it over the leaping point fielder and a boundary results.
2.1 overs (0 Run)
Back of a length and on middle, defended nicely.
1.6 overs (4 Runs)
FOUR! It does cost Aaron eventually! The last ball spoils the over somewhat! A fortunate boundary but Gayle won’t mind. He is off the mark. Gayle makes room and Aaron follows him with a short one. Gayle looks to pull but gets an inside edge. It goes past the keeper and down to the fine leg fence.
1.6 overs (1 Run)
Another extra ball! This one too is down the leg side. Wided.
1.6 overs (1 Run)
WIDE! Way too short and on middle. Gayle lets it be. Samson does well to get a strong hand at it. It falls right next to him. Will the extra ball cost Rajasthan?
1.5 overs (0 Run)
Straight to the fielder! Gayle makes room and also comes down the track. It is on the pads, he whips it but straight to square leg. One more dot.
1.4 overs (0 Run)
BEATEN! Really well bowled! This is on a length and around off, shapes away a touch. Gayle is beaten as he tries to defend.
1.3 overs (0 Run)
Shorter and around off, Gayle guides it to point.
1.2 overs (0 Run)
Outside off and on a length. It is left alone.
1.1 overs (0 Run)
Down the leg side again but this is closer to the pads. Gayle looks to flick but misses. It hits the pad and goes to Samson.
1.1 overs (2 Runs)
Two wides! Looks to bowl a slower one first up. It comes out wrong as it is down the leg side. Rahul looks to flick but misses. Samson fails to collect it cleanly as it bounces in front of him. A single taken.
Chris Gayle walks out to bat! Varun Aaron to bowl from the other end.
0.6 over (0 Run)
OUT! TAKEN! The two Englishmen combine to get rid of Mandeep Singh who bags a golden duck! Top start for Rajasthan and that is a snorter from Archer. It is short and on the body, not a ball you want to be facing first up. Mandeep Singh looks to fend at it awkwardly. It goes off the gloves and lobs towards the point region. Stokes runs in, dives forward and takes it brilliantly. Superb first over by Archer!
0.5 over (1 Run)
Punjab and Rahul are underway! Length and around off, this is played towards point for one.
0.4 over (0 Run)
Shortish and around off, Rahul pushes it towards cover.
0.3 over (0 Run)
Back of a length and on middle, Rahul stays back and defends it onto the ground.
0.2 over (0 Run)
Lovely shot but for no runs! Fuller and around off, Rahul drives it nicely but to covers.
0.1 over (0 Run)
Starts off with a very full one, almost a yorker on off. Rahul looks to jam it out towards the off side but it goes off the inner half towards mid-wicket. Mandeep wants a run but is sent back.
All in readiness! The Rajasthan huddle is visible with Steven Smith being the centre of attraction. KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh to open for Punjab as they walk out to the middle. No prizes for guessing, it’s Jofra Archer getting ready to serve the first over. Let’s play.
Punjab (Playing XI) – KL Rahul (WK/C), Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Rajsthan (Playing XI) – Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Steven Smith (C), Sanju Samson (WK), Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Kartik Tyagi.
All in readiness! The Rajasthan huddle is visible with Steven Smith being the centre of attraction. KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh will open the batting for Punjab as they walk out.
Punjab skipper, KL Rahul, says they wanted to bowl first as well but it looks a good wicket and they want to put up a decent target on the board and then later defend it. States they batted better early on but now the bowling is coming good, everything is probably going their way and it has been a complete team effort. He is hoping for the same to continue. Mentions they have learnt a thing or two playing here, they have spoken about it and they want to enjoy the game. Informs they are playing the same side.
Rajasthan skipper, Steven Smith, says he is not sure about the dew, it comes in some games but it does not in some and hence, he wants to bowl. States it has been an up and down season for them and they have not played their best game but he hopes they can do it here. Informs they have Aaron in the XI who brings more pace and he hopes he can add something to their Powerplay.
Toss – Rajasthan elect to bowl!
Danny Morrison and Daren Ganga doing the pitch report. The latter says this pitch is still good for batting but the number of sixes hit at this venue compared to the others is less so you need to pick which ball to hit up in the air and which to hit along the ground carefully. Morrison ends by saying there is a lovely covering of grass on the wicket and it should be a good wicket.
Game 50 of the Indian T20 League and it is a vital, vital clash with a lot at stake. A game where Rajasthan can’t afford a slip-up as a loss means, they would be out. A win for Punjab means, their fate will more or less be in their own hands but a loss will see them relying on the results of the other teams. Both head into this fixture on the back of a win. Punjab though are flying high as they have won 5 in a row. Rajasthan also will be high on confidence after beating the table-toppers, Mumbai in their last game. Two teams with a lot of star-studded players, we can surely expect a cracker of a contest. Not to forget, the last time these two met, we saw something special, from a less renowned name, Rahul Tewatia. If we get a game, as interesting as the last time, we can’t ask for anything more. Stay tuned.
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