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PJB vs RAJ: Three things we learnt from the incredible run-chase

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What was deemed to be one of the drabbest contests of the season turned into a humdinger as Rajasthan, led by Rahul Tewatia's late blitz chased down 224 to win the game against Punjab. The game threw up several posers for T20 cricket and the Indian T20 League season in general. Here we discuss some of them.

The floating pinch-hitter

Rahul Tewatia was brought in at no.4 to counter the two Punjab leg-spinners, Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin. While he didn't quite take them on, he did manage to line up some of the pace bowlers to showcase the hitting prowess he was displaying in the nets.

Sam Curran was used in a similar role by Chennai. It raises questions about the role of bringing players up the order to counter match-ups. While it is a good tactic for a short format like this, it is probably used very less by teams who prefer going the conservative way. 

Kolkata opening with Sunil Narine is no longer in the pinch hitter category with him opening every match. It is about time that the teams deploy batsmen according to their potential against bowling types and match situations rather than going the conventional way. Tewatia's innings certainly points in that direction.

Jofra Archer can hit a long way

He can hit the head, the base of the stumps and the ball out of the park. In his two batting stints in Indian T20 League 2020, Archer has 27 in 8 balls and 13 in 3 balls. The England pacer is a terrific striker of the cricket ball and is excellent in taking on seam bowlers as he showed against Lungi Ngidi and Mohammed Shami.

Archer has been deployed in the pinch-hitter role previously and could be in line to take it up more often given the way he is lining up pacers right now. The flexibility guys like Rahul Tewatia and Jofra Archer bring to the table make Rajasthan a threat despite the very lop-sided squad they seemed to have assembled before the season.

The fringe Indian players are so good

If it was Shubman Gill yesterday, it was Mayank Agarwal and Sanju Samson in full bloom on Sunday. While Mayank is in the Test team, Sanju Samson has been in and out without getting consistent game time. Both hit the straps early in the season with terrific batting performances and carried that forward here, with Samson finishing on 85 off 42 balls with seven sixes. Mayank's 106, his first century in the Indian T20 League, came off just 50 balls and also had seven sixes.

Both are top-order batsmen and they give India multiple options in the limited-overs side and could be in the setup sooner rather than later if they carry on the way they have been batting this Indian T20 League season so far. While India's mainstream side is excellent too, the likes of Mayank and Samson make their bench strength the best in the world.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / Indian T20 League

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