New Zealand’s Trent Boult led an inspired bowling attack to help Rajasthan Royals down Lucknow Super Giants by 24 runs and edge closer to an IPL play-off berth on Sunday.
Opener Yashasvi Jasiwal made 41 off 29 balls to guide Royals to 178 for six, a total their bowlers defended by restricting Lucknow to 154-8 in the second match of the day at Mumbai.
Boult, a left-arm quick, struck twice on successive deliveries to send back Quinton de Kock, for seven, Ayush Badoni, for nought, to dent Lucknow’s chase and returned impressive figures of 2-18.
“Some days better than others. Nice to get wickets at the top,” Boult said after being named man of the match. “The boys did talk about some intensity as this was a crucial game for us.”
Royals, who won the inaugural Indian Premier League title in 2008 under late Australian legend Shane Warne, replaced Lucknow at second with both teams on 16 points and a win needed in their remaining match to confirm a play-off spot.
Fast bowler Prasidh Krishna sent back skipper KL Rahul for 10 before Krunal Pandya, who made 25 before falling to Ravichandran Ashwin off a relay catch between Jos Buttler and Riyan Parag, put together 65 runs with Deepak Hooda.
Hooda kept up the charge in his 39-ball 59 but fell stumped off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and took with him Lucknow’s hopes of a chase.
Obed McCoy took two more including Jason Holder, for one, to expose Lucknow’s tail and Prasidh Krishna took down Marcus Stoinis, for 27, as Lucknow, one of the two newcomers alongside Gujarat Titans, remained short of their target.
“If we can hold our nerves and give ourselves a chance to play the new ball or a good spell. If you get through that spell you always have enough time to make up,” said Rahul, whose team has lost two straight games.
“We’ve got power in our batting line, so it is just about playing smart when the bowlers are bowling a good spell.”
In the first match of the day, table-toppers Gujarat sealed a top-two finish in the league stage with a seven-wicket hammering of holders Chennai Super Kings.
Players of all the four teams on Sunday wore black armbands in memory of Australia’s white-ball great Andrew Symonds who tragically died in a car crash on Saturday.