Royals keep nerve, thwart a late bid from Super Giants

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Hetmyer and Ashwin take team to 165 before Boult, Chahal and Kuldeep Sen deliver with the ball

Hetmyer and Ashwin take team to 165 before Boult, Chahal and Kuldeep Sen deliver with the ball

Trent Boult came around the stumps and got the ball to swing in from outside the off-stump. K.L. Rahul was clueless as the delivery sneaked through to rattle the stumps.

After Shimron Hetmyer and R. Ashwin’s 68-run partnership for the fifth wicket had guided Rajasthan Royals to 165 for six, Boult struck twice in his opening over to pave the way for his team’s three-run win against Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

While Rahul was gone for a golden duck — his second this edition — Boult trapped K. Gowtham for a duck. With Jason Holder, too, falling cheaply, Super Giants was reeling at 14 for three. But Quinton de Kock (39, 32b, 2×4, 1×6) and Deepak Hooda forged a 38-run stand for the fourth wicket before the debutant medium-pacer Kuldeep Sen castled the latter.

Yuzvendra Chahal (four for 41) dismissed the in-form Ayush Badoni in the 12th over, and struck again four overs later — this time removing de Kock and Krunal in the space of three balls.

Even though Marcus Stoinis (38, 17b, 2×4, 4×6) made a valiant attempt towards the fag end, young Kuldeep bowled the final over with 15 required. He held his nerve and ensured Super Giants fell short. Earlier, things would have gone haywire had Ashwin (28, 23b, 2×6) not stabilised the Royals innings with Hetmyer (59 n.o., 36b, 1×4, 6×6) before retiring out, a first in IPL history.

Gowtham had dismissed Devdutt Padikkal and Rassie van der Dussen, but Ashwin put the pressure right back by hitting him for two consecutive sixes in the 16th over. Hetmyer hit Holder for two sixes and a four in the 18th over. Krunal had dropped Hetmyer for 14 and the West Indian made Super Giants pay before Boult, Chahal and Kuldeep stepped up and ensured the win.

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