No-ball, Clutch Phillips, and Drops Cost Sloppy Royals


Oh no, Sandeep

Was this the most infamous no-ball in the history of the Indian Premier League? It likely was. Sandeep Sharma, what did you do? Match in the pocket, and then do that? The bowler who denied MS Dhoni in the last over with those perfect yorkers a few games ago made one mistake which will bug him forever. Catch taken, match over, only to see that you have overstepped! This was bizarre. IPL matches or T20 matches can be cruel on individuals, and this was the starkest example of that. Possibly the craziest of finishes in the history of the tournament. It was game gone for Sunrisers Hyderabad, only for it to dawn on them that it could yet be won.

Phillips the game-changer

In a game where batters scored in the 90s, 60s, 50s and 40s, the most crucial contribution was 25. It was made by Hyderbad’s Glenn Phillips. Those three sixes in the 19th over were pivotal in turning a match that was going the way of the Rajasthan Royals. Yes, those were errant deliveries bowled by Kuldip Yadav, stuff that one does not often encounter even in school cricket. But they had to be taken advantage of. Phillips, born in South Africa but a New Zealand international, made sure that there was optimum contact. That was steel and skill of the same level. Had he not connected one of those, Rajasthan Royals would have sat pretty.

Also Read: Gujarat Openers and Mohit Seal Thumping Win Over Lucknow

Drop catch, lose match

How can you drop the easiest of catches? Sanju Samson and Obed McCoy dropped sitters at the most crucial stages of the match. It’s okay. We understand that no catches are easy, so to say. But there are easier ones, and those were exactly what they floored. There was some brilliant catching as well, by Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shimron Hetmyer. But what Sanju and McCoy grounded were very, very costly. Those lost them a match they should have won comfortably. This was sloppy work of the worst order. And when you do that at such crucial stages in a match, you ought to be punished. No sympathy.


Indian trio to the fore

Not often do you see three Indians occupying the top three slots in the batting order and making a telling contribution. Anmolpreet Singh, Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi did just that. Each one of them chipped in and kept Hyderabad in the hunt. Those were stellar contributions. We had seen Tripathi in the past and were aware of his ability to deliver under pressure. But to see the other two come up with such fearless shows was a revelation. They started the chase of a very high total in positive manner and sustained the momentum. Yes, Heinrich Klassen followed them up, but without the efforts of these three, and Abdul Samad and Phillips later on, this heist would not have been possible. None of the three are in India contention at the moment, which makes it more remarkable.

Royalty losing value

Are Rajasthan Royals losing their way after a brilliant start? Looks like it. They have lost five of their last six matches. There was some brilliance in the batting of Sanju and Buttler, who were absolutely dominant. But if you fail to defend totals in excess of 210 frequently — this happened against Mumbai Indians as well — it raises questions about your ability and leadership. This is not what title aspirants do, and with such a fantastic roster of players. Think of Yuzvendra Chahal and the kind of performance (4-29) that he put in. If you lose from that kind of a position, you might as well forget about the title.

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