<
>

Livingstone, Samson, Unadkat keep Royals' playoff hopes alive

play
We couldn't build small partnerships or gain momentum - Williamson (1:50)

Kane Williamson assesses Sunrisers' middle order, the bowlers inability to take wickets halfway into the defence, and much else (1:50)

Rajasthan Royals 161 for 3 (Samson 48*, Livingstone 44, Shakib 1-26) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 160 for 8 (Pandey 61, Unadkat 2-26) by seven wickets

Rajasthan Royals came into this match - their last at home this season - with their IPL 2019 campaign hanging by a thread, needing to win all their remaining games to be in contention for the playoffs. But thanks to an electric outing in the field from Jaydev Unadkat, a 78-run opening stand between Ajinkya Rahane and Liam Livingstone, and a nerveless 48 not out from Sanju Samson, they were able to keep their hopes alive with a clinical seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Jaipur.

Royals weathered a bruising second consecutive fifty from Manish Pandey and overcame some scrappiness in the field, holding Sunrisers to 160 for 8 when they had reached 121 for 3 with five overs to go in their innings. Unadkat's efforts were key, and he took 2 for 26 to go with his three catches. Livingstone, opening for the first time in the IPL, launched the chase with gusto, hitting three sixes in his 44 off 26 balls, and Samson then held his composure to finish the job.

Rajasthan's win did not only keep their campaign alive, it also ensured that Chennai Super Kings are the first team guaranteed a playoff spot in the competition.

Warner goes boundary-free

David Warner came into this match with 295 runs in his last five innings and a chance to claim an IPL record. Twice before has someone struck five fifties in a row - Virender Sehwag achieving the feat in 2012 with Jos Buttler matching him last year - and Warner has been in such unbeatable touch that yet more runs seemed almost a formality. He was gifted five of them off the first ball of the innings, having tried to leave Varun Aaron but failing to withdraw his bat in time to unintentionally dab the ball behind point, where the fielder swooped and shied to add four overthrows to a quick single. Helped by Royals' early sloppiness in the field, with 20 extra runs coming from misfields and overthrows through the course of the match, Sunrisers ended the Powerplay at a reasonably healthy 51 for 1, but Warner never got going on a slowish track. He was yet to score a boundary when he aimed a wild slash at the first ball of the 13th over, bowled by Oshane Thomas, to present a swirling chance that was snaffled by a diving Steven Smith. Smith jarred his right elbow completing the catch, and the physio ran out to add an extra layer of strapping to his arm afterwards, but he said in the post-match presentation that it was only precautionary.

Pandey drives it forward

While a slightly sluggish track played its part in Warner's struggles, Pandey showed that there were still runs to be had. He picked up where he left off after his 49-ball 83 against Chennai Super Kings last Tuesday and went hard from the first ball he faced tonight - literally. He swiped a full-blooded drive off Shreyas Gopal to get going with a four straight away, crunching seven more in the next eight overs to race to fifty from just 27 deliveries. Though Warner didn't reach the boundary, he did at least do the job of handing much of the strike to Pandey as the two shared in a 75-run second-wicket stand.

Out twice off one ball

Pandey cruised into the 60s with his ninth four in the 15th over but was then dismissed by some brilliance by Samson behind the stumps. Pandey aimed a late dab at a Gopal legbreak but was over-balanced into the stroke and lifted his back foot, with Samson waiting for just the right moment to whip the bails off and stump him. As it turned out, Pandey had also feathered an edge as the ball passed him, so he would have been out anyway on review.

Pandey's fall sparked a chaotic finale to the innings as, in the space of 31 deliveries, Royals surged to strip Sunrisers back with six wickets for just 34 runs. Poised at 121 for 2, Sunrisers stumbled to 160 for 8, with Rashid Khan's four and a six off the last two balls - the only boundaries hit by anyone in the last five overs - helping to add a modicum of respectability to their effort. But Royals dropped almost as many chances as they held as their early fielding woes returned, with Samson, Gopal and Varun Aaron all dropping chances of varying difficulty. Shrugging off the untidiness of those around him in the field, Unadkat held three catches all on his own - two tumbling efforts in the outfield and one brilliant caught-and-bowled as he got some major hang time on a leap to pluck a one-handed return catch from Deepak Hooda out of the air.

Liam Livingstone, I presume?

Livingstone has spent the last two weeks warming the bench, but Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer's return to England for national duty opened up a position for him in Royals' playing XI, and he made the chance count with a recognisably bullish 44 that set up the chase. Livingstone had a more than capable ally in Rahane, and together they bested Rashid in a key moment in the game, cracking a six each to take 16 runs from his first over. Livingstone slammed 20 runs off his own bat in Siddarth Kaul's first over as Royals raced through the Powerplay at ten an over. By the time Rashid finally broke through, the job was already half done and the required rate was a manageable 7.54.

Turner finally breaks his duck

After a 55-run stand between Samson and Smith put Royals within touching distance of a vital win, Ashton Turner walked to the crease with five ducks in a row on his back and a potentially awkward 13 from 18 needed. He managed to get a bit of willow on an indipper from Bhuvneshwar Kumar first up to get off the mark and draw ironic applause from his team-mates in the dug out. Even Bhuvneshwar was smiling, though Turner kept a straight face. Samson then put the finishing touches on the chase, swatting his fourth four to end the match unbeaten on 48.

Royals 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st78AM RahaneLS Livingstone
2nd15AM RahaneSV Samson
3rd55SPD SmithSV Samson
4th13SV SamsonAJ Turner