Samson seals comfortable win for Royals
Rajasthan Royals boosted their hopes of making the Indian Premier League play-offs with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.
The Royals wrapped up victory with just five balls remaining, though they had been cruising for long periods in their run chase after Jaydev Unadkat (2-26) had sparkled with the ball and also in the field.
Rajasthan's target was an achievable 161, despite Manish Pandey's 61, and contributions from the top four in the batting order helped see them home in the final over.
Ajinkya Rahane made 39, Liam Livingstone 44 and Sanju Samson hit an unbeaten 48 as the Royals made sure they remain right in the mix for a top-four finish.
SMITH CHECKS WARNER'S MOMENTUM
Sunrisers started steadily enough despite losing captain Kane Williamson early for 13, with David Warner and Pandey combining well at the crease.
Warner looked to be cruising towards a record-breaking sixth consecutive half-century in this season's competition until Australia team-mate Steve Smith intervened.
The pair have regularly shared headlines since last year's ball-tampering scandal and, on opposing sides here, Smith denied Warner a piece of history. He executed a sublime, diving right-handed catch to dismiss his compatriot for 37.
WICKETS FALL DESPITE SLOPPINESS
Rather than take the lead of captain Smith, the Royals' fielding was a real mix as they were given multiple opportunities to take control after Pandey was stumped.
Catches were carelessly put down but Unadkat impressed. As well as a pair of wickets – including getting Deepak Hooda caught and bowled for a golden duck – he clung on to catches from Vijay Shankar (8) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1).
Despite the wasted chances, Rajasthan slowed Sunrisers slightly from 103-1 to 160-8.
RAJASTHAN GO STEADY ALL THE WAY
An 18-run return from Hyderabad's final over gave the Royals a slightly tougher target, but they never looked in real danger of falling short.
It took Sunrisers until the 10th over to take the first wicket of Livingstone, with Samson arriving in the middle and quickly impressing.
Smith's dismissal later in the innings brought Ashton Turner to the middle, looking to avoid a fourth consecutive IPL duck - a potential record - but he was quickly smiling after getting off the mark with a single.
Requiring nine from the final two overs, the Royals' patient approach was rewarded when Samson pulled a short ball to the boundary to complete the job.