Rajasthan Royals 185 (Jaiswal 49, Lomror 43, Arshdeep 5-32, Shami 3-21) beat Punjab Kings 183 for 4 (Agarwal 67, Rahul 49, Tyagi 2-29, Tewatia 1-23) by two runs
A banner statistical day for Punjab Kings that included KL Rahul passing 3000 runs in the IPL, 2000 runs in the league for Mayank Agarwal, and a maiden IPL five-for from left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh became completely spoiled in the final moments of play as they tripped spectacularly at the final hurdle, losing by two runs despite having six wickets in hand chasing a target of 186.
Rahul was dropped three times during a sloppy fielding display by Royals that allowed him to reach 49 in the end as part of a century stand with Agarwal. But Royals were able to overcome that due to the brilliance of Mustafizur Rahman and Kartik Tyagi. With eight runs needed off 12 balls and eight wickets in hand, Mustafizur conceded just four singles off the penultimate over.
The odds were still overwhelmingly in favor of Kings entering the final over with the well-set pair of Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran at the crease on 25 and 32 respectively in the midst of a half-century partnership. But after a single by Markram, Pooran's attempted steer with an open face to third man instead found the gloves of Sanju Samson behind the stumps. Markram was then starved of the strike for the rest of the over as Deepak Hooda and then Fabian Allen could not get away Tyagi's wide yorkers, capping a scoreless final four deliveries and a stunning heist by Tyagi and the Royals.
Royals got off to a promising start behind the opening pair of Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal, who put on a 54-run opening stand in a powerplay dominated by the West Indian left-hander. It was broken when Arshdeep induced a false drive to extra cover where Agarwal took a sharp catch on the ring to remove Lewis for 36.
Jaiswal had taken 40 off the first 10 overs, including five fours and two sixes, but showed his nerves as he closed in on what would have been a maiden IPL fifty. He crawled through the next four overs, tapping singles to let his partners Liam Livingstone and then Mahipal Lomror take their hacks for the boundary. He reached 49 before an attempted flick through midwicket produced a leading edge taken on the ring to make it 136 for 4.
While Jaiswal had slowed down, another left-hander took on the aggressive role for Royals as Lomror pulled out the slog sweep to clear the ropes on four occasions, on his way to 43 off 17 balls. Though he fell on the first ball of the 18th, his blistering cameo proved to be extremely valuable in the final margin.
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The left-armer had already taken two wickets earlier - Lewis followed by Livingstone at deep midwicket - when he came back at the death to put the clamps on Royals middle and lower order. Lomror picked out Markram at long-on trying to hit his fifth six in the 18th. Mohammed Shami then took two wickets caught on the boundary by Markram in the 19th before Arshdeep closed out the first innings in style.
A slower ball was skied above the pitch for Arshdeep to claim himself for a fourth wicket. One ball later, he went one better with a yorker to knock over Tyagi as the innings was wrapped up for 185. Thanks to Arshdeep and Shami, only 17 runs were scored off the final three overs as the last five wickets tumbled.
Rahul-Agarwal century stand goes to waste
Rahul was spilled on 2 at backward point by Lewis, 29 at mid-on by Riyan Parag, and 32 at short fine leg by Chetan Sakariya. Each chance was easier than the previous one as Kings continued to rub salt into the wound, stretching a partnership beyond 100 that could have been nipped in the bud as early as the second over.
A pair of sixes off Chris Morris over fine leg by Agarwal took him past fifty as well as 2000 runs in the IPL while Rahul had earlier become the second fastest (by innings) to cross 3,000 in the competition. But after both men fell in the space of eight balls during the 12th and 13th overs, Markram and Pooran carried on and showed no signs of concern. A six to start the 18th by Markram off Morris took the equation under a run a ball with 12 needed off the final 17 balls, but it would be the last boundary Kings would score, and they soon were struggling for singles too.
With eight needed off 12 balls, Mustafizur bowled two crucial dots to stretch the match into the final frame for Tyagi. A seemingly innocuous four off six turned into an insurmountable three off the final ball after Pooran's wicket was followed by Hooda also edging Tyagi behind. Allen could not get bat on yet another well-placed wide yorker off the last delivery as the Royals dugout poured onto the field, jubilant to have pulled off the unlikeliest of wins.