In a match in which the average scoring rate was 10.23, the two bowlers who stood out from either team were Rashid Khan and Shreyas Gopal. The smart numbers of the two legspinners illustrate just how good they were.
Rashid finished with figures of 1 for 24 from four, taking the early wicket of Jos Buttler, and then keeping it tight in the middle overs even as the others were leaking runs. He went for seven runs in the ninth after the seventh and eighth overs had gone for 10 each, and then conceded only four in the 13th over after the 10th, 11th, and 12th had each disappeared for 13.
Gopal had a night to remember as well, taking the key wickets of Jonny Bairstow, Vijay Shankar and Manish Pandey, while conceding only 27. (Had it not been for a Dhawal Kulkarni misfield in Gopal’s first over, he too would have conceded only 24.)
Given that he came into the attack when Sunrisers had already galloped to 69 without loss in six, the pressure on Gopal was immense, but he handled it superbly, going for only six runs in his last two overs – the 11th and the 16th. His smart runs conceded did not drop as much, though, by the 16th over the asking rate had already dropped to 6.8, which means the batsmen were in control. Also, his wicket value is slightly lower than three as Shankar was dismissed after he had already done plenty of damage: Sunrisers’ win percentage was still 86.33, according to ESPNcricinfo’s Forecaster, after his dismissal.
Samson makes the most of his luck
Sunrisers Hyderabad eventually completed a comfortable victory, but on the field they made it tougher for themselves by missing more than one wicket-taking opportunity. None of them cost them the game, but the dropped chance by Bairstow in the 17th over did allow Sanju Samson to score the first century of IPL 2019.
Samson was on 58 off 41 when he was dropped, and he made the most of that opportunity, scoring 44 off the next 14 balls (including the delivery off which he was dropped). In term of cost to the team, that chance allowed Rajasthan Royals to add 27 more runs to their total, according to ESPNcricinfo’s Luck Index, which puts a run value to every lucky event in a match. This value is calculated by taking into account the runs that the other Royals batsmen would have scored off those 14 balls, had Samson been dismissed on 58.
As it turned out, those extra 27 runs only helped the game go as deep as the 19th over.