Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson lost his 10th toss of IPL 2022 when his Punjab Kings counterpart Mayank Agarwal said they would like to bat first.
But Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shimron Hetmyer, with some help from Yuzvendra Chahal’s three wickets, ensured that Rajasthan ended on the winning side, their first in a chase in IPL 2022 with the loss in the toss just left purely for academic interest.
The start of the tournament hadn’t been ideal for Jaiswal after being retained by Rajasthan ahead of the mega auction. Scores of 20, 1 and 4 in the first three matches meant Jaiswal had been benched in favour of another left-handed opener, Devdutt Padikkal.
Now, after almost a month, Jaiswal was slotted into the eleven in place of Karun Nair with Padikkal pushed to middle-order.
It helped that Jaiswal set the tone for Rajasthan’s chase through cuts on the off-side and a glorious picked-up six off his pads over deep square-leg off Sandeep Sharma in the opening over.
With Buttler tearing into Kagiso Rabada and falling to him eventually, Jaiswal would keep the scoring rate of Rajasthan up after taking another boundary off Sharma in power-play.
But the standout boundary from his knock, laced with nine fours and two sixes, was a gorgeous inside-out lofted six over extra cover on a leg-stump ball from leg-spinner Rahul Chahar that easily cleared the long off-side boundary, which saw him get 48 runs from that area.
“I think the one I hit Rahul Chahar over the covers. I just tried to keep it simple — good cricketing shots,” were Jaiswal’s words after the match.
Another boundary of Jaiswal which showed his witty play was playing a silken late cut to a yorker outside off from Sharma to run it in the gap between wicket-keeper and short third man.
From being 22 off 14 balls in power-play, Jaiswal opened up after the fielding restrictions were lifted to get 46 runs off just 27 balls. It also helped that Jaiswal was able to face much of the bowlers who weren’t Kagiso Rabada or Arshdeep Singh.
Though Jaiswal fell to Arshdeep eventually, Hetmyer, who has made a name for himself as a designated finisher for Rajasthan, stepped up to ensure that Rajasthan didn’t lose their way, something which happened to Gujarat Titans against Mumbai Indians on Friday.
With Padikkal struggling to get going and 47 runs needed off the last five overs, Hetmyer clipped Rabada through fine leg and cracked successive boundaries in the arc between mid-wicket and long-on.
Hetmyer and Padikkal took four and six respectively off Rabada to make the equation really easy for Rajasthan. Arshdeep nailed his yorkers in a top-class 19th over and got Padikkal out with a low full toss chipped to cover.
Hetmyer dispatched Chahar for a six over wide long-on and finished off the chase with a single in the same region to seal Rajasthan’s first win of the tournament in a chase.
But the match will be remembered for Jaiswal, who dedicated the knock to Rajasthan’s director of cricket Zubin Bharucha for helping and motivating him in the time he was out of the eleven.
“I want to dedicate this innings to Zubin sir. He has helped me a lot during all the times, whenever I was sitting with him, when I was down.
“He has been pushing me always. It’s been a pleasure to perform like this. He has motivated me a lot, pushing me everyday like ‘you can do it, you’ll do it, just keep working hard.’ I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll try my best.”
Rajasthan will be hoping that Jaiswal and Hetmyer would be at their best when the playoffs come, to turn the tide in their favour.