Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson won the toss and elected to bat against Gujarat Titans in the underway big-ticket finale at Narendra Modi Stadium. Rajasthan, who won their last match at the same venue, decided to go unchanged for the mega clash. Gujarat decided to bring back Lockie Ferguson in the XI as Alzarri Joseph missed out.
The game started with RR mounting batting pressure on GT. Butler and Jaiswal’s boundaries had, at one point, promised to turn the tide in favor of the Royals. However, with Jaiswal trying another big hit on Dayal’s ball, he got caught by Sai Kishore at deep mid-wicket. This was the first wicket down in the fourth over for RR.
Sanju Samson came in and tried the boundaries, albeit with caution. He was at the receiving end of Lockie Ferguson’s speed and skill. At this point, it looked as though Butler calling the shots and Pandya did appear under pressure.
The Samson-Butler partnership carried on, till in 8.2 overs, Pandya bowled and Sai Kishore once again caught out Samson.
The next partnership, Butler-Devdutt Padikkal, managed to keep the heat on. However, Rashid Khan was brought in to alter the pace of deliveries. And herein, he failed to assess. Devdutt was soon caught out by Shami in 11.5 overs.
The match took a sudden turn from this point. Gujrat Titans were back in the game and the quick loss of wickets only detracted from the Royal’s confidence. Two balls later, Butler was caught out by Wc Wriddhiman Saha. At the end of 14 overs, RR were 84/4 with the first order batsmen all out. However, the middle order line displayed some fine cricket, especially in the boundaries. In the 15th over, Hardik dismissed Hetmyer. All in all, Pandya gave 10 runs but finished his spell at a competitive 3/17.
The game was a gripping play of force and skill by now. However, it was also quick succession of the Royals. In the 15.5 over, Ashwin tried a boundary but mis-timed it. He was caught out by Miller at long-on.
The final three overs saw the Royals wrest runs. But the quick fall of two wickets in the 17th over made it clear. The Royals were struggling while the Titans were calling the shots.
The first session ended with 130/9. Hardik Pandya hauled three wickets!