Player of the match: For his 119 off 63 balls (12x4 7x6), Sanju Samson.

Brian Lara (Star Sports studio) on Sanju Samson’s decision to turn down a single in the last over: It was the right decision (to not take a single), if anybody had to hit the boundary it was Samson. No doubt in my mind. If he had to turn back a second, there was a chance he could have been out. Just couldn’t clear the boundary last ball, thought he got it watching it from here.

Vinayakk Mohanarangan: Absolutely no issue with Sanju Samson turning that single down and backing himself to hit a six for a win. That’s elite confidence. Morris was batting on 2 off 4 at the other end. Sensational game awareness for me, almost pulled it off too.

19.6: HAS HE HIT IT FOR SIX!? NO! Not enough distance! CAUGHT IN THE DEEP! That was almost a sensational finish by Samson.


19.4: SIX!!!! SANJU SAMSON! Arshdeep misses his length. In the slot, powered over extra cover. 5 off 2 needed.

19.3: GAYLE DIVES! (Wasn’t needed. But still. An event.) It is a single. Samson on strike.

19.1: DOT BALL! Angled wide, not given wide. Rightly so.

19.2: Just a single for Samson. 12 off 4, Morris on strike.

Arshdeep Singh to bowl, Samson on strike. NERVES. 13 off 6 balls.

RR 209/6 after 19 overs: Oh what a shot! What. A. Shot. Samson just flicks one off his hip with ridiculous timing for a six. 14 off 8 balls. Meredith does well last 2 balls to keep it tight, 13 needed off 6.

18.1: WICKET! Punjab need a really, really good 19th over. Meredith starts it off with the wicket of Tewatia. Caught behind. 21 off 11 needed.

Ashish Magotra: There are days when Sanju Samson looks like one of the best batsmen in the world. Today is one of those days. Splendid ball-striking by the RR skipper. 100 off 54 balls, his third IPL ton and his first as a skipper.

WHAT AN INNINGS! 4-6-4! THIRD IPL CENTURY! Sanju Samson, on his captaincy debut in IPL, has played a sensational hand. 102* off 54 balls.

Over 16.2: WICKET! Shami strikes, Punjab needed that desperately. Good bouncer by the senior India pacer, Parag can only help it on to Rahul.

Timeout. The 50-run partnership between Samson / Parag came up in 19 balls.

RR 174/4 after 17 overs: A 20-RUN OVER! Samson starts off with a six down the ground, Riyan Parag then smokes two over the long off-cover region. 48 needed from 24 balls! RR’s game now.

Rajasthan Royals need 68 from 30 balls.

RR 154/4 after 15 overs: Three slower balls from Richardson to start the over, the third goes for over beyond point. Then a low full toss is smashed over square leg for six. Samson on to 76. Richardson continues to take the pace off though, finishes the over well. Required rate stays at around 13. Not out of reach yet.

After 14 overs RR 141/4: A four for Samson and a ridiculous flick over midwicket for six by Parag off Shami makes it a 13-run over.

After 13 overs RR 128/4: Parag hits a delightful four to get going!

Over 12.4 : WICKET! The run-rate creeping up, scoreboard pressure tells on Dube. After a boundary early in the over, he goes for another big shot. Finds Hooda at long off. Arshdeep strikes. RR 123/4.

RR 117/3 after 12 overs: A boundary for Dube off Ashwin. Need 105 from 48 balls. The required rate is just over 13 now.

RR 109/3 after 11 overs: GOOD REVIEW: Samson is given out LBW. But he reviews immediately. Bouncing high. No wicket on debut for Meredith yet, another expensive over. (RR were denied a run as well because of the umpire giving out. That’s a rule ICC need to look at!)

HALF CENTURY! Sanju Samson has had his chances tonight but he is still in the middle and holds the key in this runchase. 53 off 33 balls. Gets there with a ramp over the keeper.

RR 95/3 after 10 overs: The run-rate is decent for Royals but the wickets of Buttler and Stokes means there is not enough firepower left perhaps for the back-end. Big chance for Shivam Dube though.

DROPPED! The catching has swung between sensational and abysmal tonight. Another dropped catch, again Samson gets a life. Fielders at long on and long off don’t communicate. Mayank and Sharukh Khan the fielders. Jonty doesn’t look too pleased. RR 87/3 after 9.

WICKET! A massive moment in the run-chase. Jhye Richardson deceives Jos Buttler with a brilliant slower ball. The Englishman is bowled. RR 70/3.

After 7 overs, RR 68/2: Ashwin starts off with a no ball and the free hit goes for four. RR keeping their scoring rate near 10.

Timeout done, M Ashwin comes on.

End of the powerplay, RR 59/2: KL Rahul’s dropped catch that gave Sanju Samson a life could prove costly for Punjab? The RR captain is looking in good touch. Couple of boundaries in that Arshdeep over.

After 5 overs, RR 48/2: 4-4-4-4! That’s some welcome to the IPL for Riley Meredith. Jos Buttler is on the charge. Plenty of pace on offer and Jos shows he is the boss of the 360-game. Shots around the ground.

After 4 overs, RR 30/2: Should have been three wickets down, RR. Arshdeep unlucky as Rahul puts down a fairly simple chance.

After 3 overs, RR 25/1: A break in play in that Shami over as Samson takes a blow to his abdomen region. Then, restarts with a couple of boundaries .

After 2 overs, RR 17/1: DROPPED! M Ashwin runs square from third man and puts down after getting to the ball. Vohra gets a life in that Richardson over. Sitter once he got there. Earlier in the over, a brilliant flick six and a for for Vohra. All happening.

WICKET! Oh dear, almost massive confusion among Punjab’s fielders as Stokes skies one. Bowler Shami calls for it, Rahul comes charging in, Hooda too. Stokes is ducking for cover. Shami just about hangs on!

Ben Stokes and Manan Vohra opening.

Reminder: Royals vs Punjab in IPL 2020, Sharjah. Rajasthan chased down 224.

The Sharjah Redemption: Rahul Tewatia and the art of not giving up

If you are a Punjab Kings fan, perhaps it is not a bad thing that KL Rahul missed out on a century. Here’s why.

Data check: The curious case of centuries in IPL

End of innings: PBKS 221/6

A brilliant last over by Chetan Sakariya as he picks up a couple of wickets. The debutant finishes with 3/31 amid all the carnage at the Wankhede Stadium. But Punjab will be delighted with the total.

Over 19.2: FOUR AND OUT! SUPERB CATCH! It’s been a case of the extremes on the field by Royals tonight. A few simple ones have been dropped but after Sakariya, Tewatia takes a superb boundary catch and Rahul is out for 91 off 50 balls in the final over. Sensational innings too.

After 19 overs, PBKS 216/4: Another big over for Punjab. A boundary for Rahul off a free hit. And SRK hits a four too. Fizz goes for 0/45. Rahul on the verge of a century.

WICKET! Sensational catch at short-fine leg by Sakariya as Morris picks up another. No fireworks from Pooran (first-ball duck) tonight even as 200 came up with that 18th over. PBKS 201/4 after 18.

WICKET! Skies one off Morris and is caught. Hooda walks back and is greeted with fist bumps. What a sensational innings though. 64 off 28 balls, 4x4s 6x6s. A brilliant strike rate of 228.57

Brings up the 100-run stand off 45 balls.

After 17 overs, PBKS 187/2: Was shaping into a decent over by Sakariya with 2 runs from first four balls. And then Hooda hits a four behind the stumps, a lofted straight drive for four... which turns out to be a no ball! Oh dear. Free hit goes for four too. Escalated quickly for the debutant.

HALF CENTURY! A 20-ball fifty by Deepak Hooda! Filled with some sensational hits. Six sixes so far, including a no-look hit off Morris in this 16th over. SOME SWAG. Morris does well to come back from that six in that over but there is no stopping Punjab at the moment.

After 15 overs PBKS 161/2: Confusion in the outfield between two Englishmen. Hooda gets a reprieve. Rahul hits another six as Fizz drops short. Runs flowing.

After 14 overs, PBKS 150/2: DEEPAK HOODA ON THE CHARGE! Scratch what we said about promoting him over Pooran! *winks* This is some hitting. FIVE SIXES SO FAR! Three in that Gopal over. On 39 off 15 balls.

After 13 overs, PBKS 130/2: BIG OVER FOR PBKS! Shivam Dube comes on and Rahul hits one six, followed by two sixes by Deepak Hooda. Hooda showing his range-hitting skills here. Has raced to 20 off 10 balls. IF he is going to hold Pooran back, this is brilliant batting.

HALF CENTURY! 22nd IPL fifty for KL Rahul and he gets to the landmark off just 30 balls. Gets there with a straight six. Leading from the front.

After 11 overs, PBKS 102/2: Interestingly, Pooran has been held back. Hooda is in. PBKS really out to get us tonight with their thinking. Meanwhile, Rahul goes into the 40s with a straight six off Tewatia.

BIG WICKET! The move to give Riyan Parag an over pays off for Royals! The big wicket of Chris Gayle, Stokes takes a superb low catch. PBKS 89/2 after 10. Gayle out for 40 off 28 balls. Stokes is off the field after the catch though. RR will hope it is not anything serious. That round-arm delivery earlier distracted Gayle? Who knows.

Alright then Riyan Parag. That's new. Even Kedar Jadhav didn't go that low!

After 9 overs, PBKS 82/1: BIG OVERS FOR PUNJAB! Stokes on to bowl the 8th, Rahul welcomes him with a lovely lofted drive for four. Then Gayle hits his milestone six. Tewatia next over, and he puts down a return catch as Gayle gets a life. BRUTAL HIT! Really powerful, but came straight at the bowler. Goes down as a drop. The Boss finishes that over with another big six. Timeout as PBKS go on the charge. 24 runs from the last 2 overs.

Most sixes in IPL history

PLAYER Inns 6s
Chris Gayle 132 350
 AB de Villiers 157 237
 MS Dhoni 183 216
 Rohit Sharma 196 214
 Virat Kohli 185 201

After 7 overs, PBKS 58/1: DROPPED! Ben Stokes puts a catch down after doing well to cover ground and getting to the ball from long off. KL Rahul gets a life, Shreyas Gopal the unlucky bowler. That goes for four and so does another shot from Gayle in that over. Getting a move, Punjab.

End of powerplay, PBKS 46/1: A four for Gayle over mid-on against Morris.

Chris Gayle 14 (14), KL Rahul 15 (13). We shall not talk about strike rates here.

After 5 overs, PBKS 39/1: Gayle, who likes to spend time in the middle before accelerating, hits his first four. Length ball from Fizz, muscled down the ground. Royals have kept it tight overall though.

After 4 overs PBKS 31/1: Morris starts off by conceding a four, a outside edge by Rahul that sneaks past slip and short-third. Good fielding by Vohra to prevent another boundary. Good, probing over that by Morris.

The most expensive signing in the IPL history is into the attack. Chris Morris time.

Over 2.4: WICKET! RR missed a chance to review against Mayank Agarwal but doesn’t prove too costly. Chetan Sakariya gets the wicket next over. “A dream moment for him,” says Harsha Bhogle. He is delighted, jumping for joy. Nice and full from the left-armer, Agarwal tried going over cover and his caught behind. 22/1.

After 2 overs, PBKS 21/0: Missed chance! Big appeal for LBW against Mayank as Fizz gets one on good length, good line. Looked close real time. RR don’t review and replays show... ALL THREE REDS on DRS. A life for Mayank on 7. He finishes the over with a boundary.

After 1 over, PBKS 10/0: A boundary each for Mayank (width offered, cut away) and Rahul (on the pads, glanced fine). A nervy first over for Sakariya.

A new captain, a rebranded team, plenty of debutants on both sides. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal opening. Sanju Samson dons the gloves for RR. Chetan Sakariya to start off. “One of the great stories from the domestic season,” says Harsha Bhogle. What a night for him.

7.15 pm: On more than one occasion Rahul has spoken about wanting pace in his side since last season. Well, he has certainly packed his XI with pace tonight. But it looks like Jhye Richardson will be batting at No 7. Does that mean Rahul to drop anchor again? One thought this is where Fabian Allen could be useful. Punjab continue to perplex.

Playing XIs

Rajasthan Royals: Manan Vohra, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Shivam Dube, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman

Punjab Kings: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, M Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Riley Meredith, Arshdeep Singh

Overseas players for RR: Chris Morris, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Mustafizur Rahman

Overseas players for PBKS: Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Riley Meredith, Jhye Richardson

TOSS: Sanju Samson wins the toss and Royals will be bowling first.


HEAD TO HEAD: Played 21, Royals: 12, Punjab: 9 (1 Super Over win)

Here’s some pre-match reading to warm you up as we wait for the toss.

06.45 pm: Hello and welcome to the live blog of match No 4 Indian Premier League 2021 season. It is an exciting match on the cards tonight with two teams going stacked with big hitters going up against each other at the Wankhede Stadium. Runs, runs, and more runs in store tonight. All eyes will be on the two captains, Sanju Samson starts his journey as Rajasthan Royals leader and on the other side, KL Rahul has plenty riding on this season of IPL while Punjab Kings (in case you missed the name change) seek their elusive first title.