Punjab Kings defeated Rajasthan Royals by 4 runs to get their IPL 2021 campaign off to a winning start. The match went down to the wire as Sanju Samson put on a stellar show and scored a blistering 100. However, Arshdeep Singh held his nerve and defended 13 of the final over to hand Punjab an impressive victory.
Batting first, Punjab didn’t get off to the desired start and lost Mayank Agarwal for 14. However, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul took the innings forward and stitched a 67 run stand in 7.1 overs before Gayle departed for a quickfire 40 off 28 balls. Deepak Hooda arrived and put on a six-hitting exhibition, scoring 64 in 28 balls including 6 maximums and 4 boundaries. He and Rahul smashed the Royals to all corners of the park and added 105 runs in 46 balls for the 3rd wicket. Rahul missed his century by a whisker and was dismissed for a 50 ball 91. However, his innings ensured that Punjab had a massive total on the board.
Chasing 222 was a mammoth task and it became even more daunting after Ben Stokes’ dismissal on the third ball of the 1st over. Manan Vohra too departed for 12, leaving Rajasthan Royals reeling at 25-2. Buttler joined hands with Sanju Samson as the duo counter-attacked Punjab with some blistering shots. However, Buttler was castled by Jhye Richardson for 25. The wickets kept on tumbling from the other end but Sanju Samson stayed firm and kept the scoreboard galloping. RR needed 99 runs in 42 balls when Riyan Parag came at the wicket. The youngster played some crisp shots in his 11 ball 25 and added 52 runs with Samson in 3.4 overs to keep RR in the hunt. Post his wicket, Sanju Samson hit a different zone and scored 36 off RR’s next 42 runs. He played an unbelievable knock but unfortunately couldn’t finish the game as Arshdeep bowled a magnificent last over, helping Punjab win the game by 4 runs.