Riyan Parag sizzles, Rajasthan Royals rock

Riyan Parag was on fire for the Royals against the Capitals. Source (X)

It was Riyan Parag’s night in Jaipur. Without his innings, Rajasthan Royals wouldn’t have reached 185-5. In the end, it proved to be enough, as Delhi Capitals finished on 173-5 to lose the IPL 2024 game by 12 runs. Here are some highlights…

Law of averages catches up with Jaiswal

Only recently, during the home Test series against England, Yashasvi Jaiswal was looking impregnable, scoring double centuries for fun and hitting the opposition bowlers to smithereens. His time in this IPL so far has proved to be an anti-climax.

After getting out for 24 in the first match against Lucknow Super Giants, Jaiswal departed for five off seven balls against Delhi Capitals on Thursday. He made a bright start all right, walking down the pitch and creaming a Mukesh Kumar delivery past wide mid-off for a four. But three balls later, Mukesh exacted revenge, making one seam in off a good length and castling the southpaw.

At some point, the law of averages was to catch up with Jaiswal. Good that it has been happening during the early part of the tournament, and Rajasthan Royals fans and the player himself shouldn’t mind much. Sooner rather than later, the 22-year-old will regain his mojo.

KRS: Kuldeep Review System

After the carnage in Hyderabad on Wednesday, it was refreshing to see the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur offer something to the bowlers. Capitals made a bright start after winning the toss. Mukesh and Khaleel Ahmed moved the ball in the air and off the deck and had a wicket apiece.

Then, spin was introduced and Kuldeep Yadav dismissed the dangerous Jos Buttler in his first over. The batsman went for a reverse-sweep but missed the ball. On-field umpire Nand Kishore negated the leg-before appeal under the assumption that the ball had pitched outside leg stump. Kuldeep’s captain, Rishabh Pant, wasn’t too sure. But the bowler was adamant. He ran towards Pant, grabbed his hands and forced him to make the T sign. Pant accepted the plea with a smile. Ball-tracking showed that the delivery pitched in line and it was going to smash leg stump. Kuldeep, the ‘Hawk-Eye expert’, had his man.

Parag comes of age

Forget a couple of thick edges, Parag decimated Capitals’ fast-bowling X-factor Anrich Nortje in the final over during Royals’ innings. It was a 25-run over that also had the shot of the match. A 144 kph bouncer was sent miles over the deep mid-wicket boundary with ridiculous ease. It was Parag’s second six in that over. He also hit three fours. In the end, the 22-year-old remained unbeaten on 84 off 45 balls, his highest score in the IPL.

Parag played a lone ranger and took his team to a winning total. He had a forgettable IPL last term — 78 runs in seven matches. Parag has been a revelation this season. He was the highest scorer at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He made 378 runs in four matches in the Ranji Trophy before picking up an injury. In Royals’ IPL opener against Lucknow Super Giants, Parag warmed himself up with a 29-ball 43. Today, his innings was the difference between the sides.

Powell as a sub, rule breached?

At the start of the Capitals innings, Royals brought in Rovman Powell as a substitute fielder. He wasn’t an Impact substitute. Nandre Burger came in that capacity, replacing Shimron Hetmyer. But Capitals’ head coach Ricky Ponting objected to Powell coming in as a substitute fielder. The IPL rules limit the number of overseas players per game to four per team. As for the Impact Player, it states that an overseas player can be brought in as an Impact sub if a team starts with three or fewer overseas players. Royals adhered to that, for Buttler, Hetmyer and Trent Boult were the three foreigners in their original team sheet. The IPL rules, however, don’t mention if an overseas player can be brought in just as a substitute fielder. There’s a bit of ambiguity, and Powell coming in, although he didn’t bat or bowl, took Royals’ overseas representation in the game to five.

Capitals fall short

When Boult misjudged a skier off Ravichandran Ashwin to give Tristan Stubbs (44 not out, 23 balls) a reprieve and the latter then celebrated it with back-to-back sixes, it felt like Capitals were coming back into the game. The South African upped the ante considerably to take the game to the final over, when 17 runs were needed. But Avesh Khan bowled a brilliant over, gave away just four runs and ensured that Royals walked away with a comfortable victory.

For Capitals, both David Warner (49, 34 balls) and Pant (28, 26 balls) got out at the wrong time. For Royals, Burger (2-29) was excellent upfront, while Yuzvendra Chahal (2-19) gave the national selectors a timely reminder that he could still be quite a handful, especially on pitches where the ball grips a bit.

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