Rajasthan Royals defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets to end their home campaign on a winning note and theoretically keep alive their play-off chances in the Indian Premier League at Jaipur on Saturday.
Opting to bowl first, Rajasthan restricted Sunrisers to 160/8 and then chased down the target in 19.1 overs. By virtue of this win, Rajasthan have now moved to the sixth position in the standings with 10 points from 12 games.
But to stay in contention for a play-off berth, Rajasthan must win their remaining two away games against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 30 and Delhi Capitals on May 4 and then hope for favourable results from other matches.
Despite the loss, Hyderabad have just managed to hold to the fourth place in the table with 10 points from 11 games. Chasing 161, Liam Livingstone (44 off 26) and Ajinkya Rahane (39 off 34) got Rajasthan off to a flying start with the former taking the attack to the opposition.
The duo raced off to 78 off 55 balls for the opening wicket, picking up 60 runs off the first six powerplay overs before Livingstone perished.
Livingstone struck four boundaries and three sixes during his explosive knock before departing in the 10th over, edging one to Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps off Rashid Khan’s (1/30) bowling.
An over later Rajasthan suffered yet another blow in the form of Rahane, caught by David Warner at long-off off Shakib Al Hasan (1/26).
Then Sanju Samson (48 not out off 32) and skipper Steve Smith (22) held fort and shared 55 runs in 5.3 overs to take Rajasthan within sniffing distance of a win. But the damage had already been done for Hyderabad as Samson and Ashton Turner completed the formalities with ease.
Earlier, Manish Pandey hit a quick half-century before Hyderabad witnessed a middle-order collapse to be restricted to 160/8.
Sent into bat, Hyderabad got off too a good start even after the early dismissal of skipper Kane Williamson (13) with Warner and Manish Pandey sharing 75 runs from just 50 balls for the second wicket before losing the plot after the halfway stage.
Nicely placed 103/1 after 12 overs, Hyderabad lost their next seven wickets for just 44 runs before Rashid (17 not out off 8) played a short cameo towards the end to take the visitors to the 160-run mark.
Hyderabad lost Williamson early, cleaned up by Shreyas Gopal (2/30) with a googly in the fourth over. Warner and Pandey then joined hands and played aggressively to stabilise the Hyderabad innings. While Pandey was the aggressor of the two, Warner played the second fiddle.
Pandey reached his fifty in 27 balls with the help of eight fours but just when the partnership was looking threatening, a brilliant catch by Smith sent Warner packing.
Warner backed away and tried to slap an Oshane Thomas (2/28) short delivery over extra cover but didn’t time the shot perfectly and Smith ran back and dived full length to his right to take a terrific catch.
Warner’s innings was a struggle as he scored 37 off 32 balls but failed to hit a single boundary. Sunrsiers slumped to 121 for three after 15 overs. Pandey made a fine 61 off 36 balls with the help of nine boundaries. Vijay Shankar (8) too perished cheaply, caught by Jaydev Unadkat off Varun Aaron (2/36) in the next over as the batsman went for a big shot.
Wickets kept on tumbling for Hyderabad after a fine first wicket stand between Warner and Pandey. The next to depart was Deepak Hooda for a duck caught one-handed off his own bowling by Unadkat (2/26) in the next over.
(With PTI inputs)