Rajasthan Royals could not get off to a winning start on their return to Jaipur after four years as Lucknow Super Giants prevailed in a low-scoring game by 10 runs on Wednesday.

LSG posted 154/6 in their 20 overs and Sanju Samson’s side fell short, finishing with 144/7 in 20 overs.

Asked to bat first, LSG never quite got going despite a 82-run opening partnership between KL Rahul and Kyle Mayers. The innings started with a maiden over from Trent Boult to Rahul, as the LSG captain’s scoring rate in the powerplay came under the scanner again.

He eventually finished with 39 off 32 balls. But it was now becoming evident that the pitch wasn’t the easiest to bat on, and it would remain the case through the night as most batters struggled for fluency along with the big boundaries playing a role.

Nicholas Pooran’s late hits with the bat (29 off 20 balls) pushed LSG beyond 150 and it would prove to be enough. Marcus Stoinis too chipped in with a 16-ball 21. R Ashwin was superb with the ball for Royals, with 2/23 off four overs.

RR’s innings mirrored LSG’s for the most part, with a 87-run opening partnership where Yashasvi Jaiswal looked more fluent than Jos Buttler. The Englishman struggled (despite hitting a 112-meter six at one point), finishing with 40 off 41 balls. RR lost quick wickets in the middle overs and despite Devdutt Padikkal’s late flourish, left themselves too much to do.

Avesh Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq and Stoinis were brilliant for LSG. Khan defended 19 off the last over, finishing with 3/25. Stoinis (2/28) was player of the match, as he picked up the wickets of RR openers Jaiswal and Buttler.

West Indies big-hitter Kyle Mayers top-scored with 51 and Stoinis contributed 21 in Lucknow’s total on a tough batting pitch in Jaipur.

Stoinis broke a promising opening stand of 87 between the left-handed Jaiswal and Buttler and denied both batsmen their fifties.

Last year’s runners-up Rajasthan looked like coasting along before they lost Jaiswal, skipper Sanju Samson, run out on two, and Buttler in the space of three overs.

Avesh dismissed the big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer but impact player Padikkal took charge and attempted to revive the chase with his quickfire 26 but it was in vain.

Avesh got Padikkal caught behind in the final over and sent back Dhruv Jurel for nought to be on a hat-trick denied by Ravichandran Ashwin. The catch to dismissed Jurel, taken by Deepak Hooda at the long on boundary, was a stunner and proved critical too.

Rajasthan, inaugural IPL winners in 2008, began the match with a maiden over from New Zealand left-arm quick Trent Boult, who returned figures of 1-16.

Ashwin took two wickets, including the dangerous Mayers after the left-handed opener struck his third fifty of the season following a sluggish start.

Rahul was the first to go after an unconvincing 39 in a 82-run opening stand with the left-handed Mayers.

Stoinis and West Indies star Nicholas Pooran put on 45 runs for the fifth wicket.

Rajasthan keep their top spot in the table with eight points, ahead of second-placed Lucknow, who also have four wins from six matches but stay behind on an inferior run-rate.

RR 6 4 2 1.043 1092/119.2 973/120.0 8
LSG 6 4 2 0.709 1051/116.0 998/119.3 8
CSK 5 3 2 0.265 952/98.1 937/99.2 6
GT 5 3 2 0.192 880/97.2 879/99.2 6
PBKS 5 3 2 -0.109 807/95.3 796/93.0 6
MI 5 3 2 -0.164 879/97.4 866/94.3 6
KKR 5 2 3 0.320 947/96.0 894/93.4 4
RCB 5 2 3 -0.318 899/96.2 965/100.0 4
SRH 5 2 3 -0.798 803/97.1 870/96.0 4
DC 5 0 5 -1.488 770/100.0 902/98.1 0

With AFP inputs