Teams with equally strong team lineup on paper, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab clashed with each other in a match that was dominated by sixes and fours, finally ending in RR’s kitty. While Mayank Agarwal’s 100 cruised KXIP to 223 runs, Sanju Samson’s 85 ensured RR reached the target.
Karnataka boys form the most ‘stylish’ opening pair of IPL 2020
After a terrific start in this edition of IPL for both the Karnataka openers with Mayank Agarwal scoring an ‘almost match-winning’ 89 in the opening fixture and KL Rahul blistering 132 not out in the last match, both the players again led the team from the front, stitching together a record 183 run partnership. Both the players cemented themselves in the top-scoring charts of IPL with a technical masterclass against RR, where Rahul scored 69 off 54 balls, claiming the orange cap and Mayank scored 106 off 50 balls, making his first IPL ton and with that also claimed the tag of second-fastest IPL ton by an Indian player. The best thing about the opening pair is that they don’t play any rash shots and wait for their opportunity to score. In this match too, they were clinical at the start playing classic cricket shots and timed the ball to the boundary like a knife slicing through butter, and later, in their partnership, they didn’t shy from flexing their arms against the spinners to hit them over the ropes, giving no chance to RR bowlers to get settled. This kind of form qualifies them to be called one of the best opening pairs of IPL 2020 if not the best, but certainly warrants them to be called the most stylish pair.
Sharjah cricket stadium destined to be the graveyard of bowlers
It feels like the groundsmen of Sharjah cricket stadium were given the job to make a wicket similar to a cement wicket, which was further aided by short boundaries of the ground. There was hardly anything happening for the bowlers as they tried all the deliveries possible but couldn’t stop the batsmen from hitting them wherever they felt like with Rahul even hitting a trademark ‘Nataraj shot’ to absolutely humiliating Jofra Archer. Even in the last match, over 400 runs were scored at this ground, but fans believed that the wicket would be better in the next match. However, the myth was busted in the second match when Rahul and Agarwal played with the emotions of bowlers, and later, Steve Smith and Jos Buttler smashed the bowlers all over the ground. It’s as if BCCI forgot that there are bowlers also involved in the game, making them totally irrelevant to the outcome of the game. Maybe they thought that bowlers’ tears will add some moisture to the wicket but alas, even tears couldn’t pass through the concrete wicket.
Sanju Samson proves that he is a ‘special talent’
Sanju Samson has looked a different beast this season in the two matches so far as hitting bowlers over the boundary seems like walking in the garden to him. He comes on to bat with aggression that is unparalleled with any youngster around and compliments it with pure timing that becomes a nightmare for the bowlers. He blistered the bowling attack of KXIP, scoring 85 off 42, following his 74 off 32 balls in the first match, starting this edition of IPL on a high. He seems to be justifying the ‘special talent’ tag that he has been given since the time he first made his debut in IPL. Samson looks like a much more mature version of himself who has clarity in his role and executes his plans with complete certainty unlike before when he showed only glimpses of his so-called ‘talent’.
Mohammad Shami’s white-ball globetrotter
On a pitch, where all the bowlers were torn apart by the destructive batting of both the teams, Shami stood apart from the crowd as he bowled brilliantly on a wicket that had nothing to offer to the bowlers. While he was a little expensive which was partly due to the fact that he bowled the penultimate over of the match, but he picked up two crucial wickets of Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa, making a dent on the run-chase of Rajasthan, who were cruising towards the target barring the little slump in the middle courtesy to Rahul Tewatia. Shami bowled perfect lines and length and looked the only bowler who was capable of taking wickets on a cement wicket. He ended with the figures of 53 runs in 4 overs with 3 wickets in his kitty but surely showed a way that he can do the job in white-ball cricket. It is right there up his alley and high time we realise that.