Rajasthan scripted a historic run chase of 223 and beat Punjab by four wickets in Match 9 of the 2020 Indian T20 League season.
Here are the key talking points from the contest:
Sharjah is simply too much fun
The iconic venue has played host to two matches and so far, they have been two of best of the 2020 season.
Small boundaries and a flat surface have meant that Sharjah is averaging 216 runs per innings so far this season, by far the highest among all the venues. With Kolkata and Bangalore scheduled to play next at the venue on October 3rd, expect another high-scoring thriller given the firepower on both sides.
Mayank Agarwal's masterclass
Mayank Agarwal is one of India's finest batsmen in red-ball cricket and has always been known for his prowess in that format but this season, he’s a man on a mission.
After a sensational knock of 89 off 60 balls in PJB's gut-wrenching loss against the DEL in their season opener, the 29-year-old proved his innings was no fluke with his maiden Indian T20 League century against RAJ. Agarwal smashed 106 off 50 balls to help PJB post a massive total of 223 on the board. The Karnataka native is proving he’s a quality batsman regardless of the format.
Tewatia goes from terrible to terrific
Needing 123 runs in 11 overs, RAJ made a rather bizarre decision of promoting all-rounder Rahul Tewatia to No. 4, ahead of Robin Uthappa, Tom Curran, Riyan Parag and Jofra Archer. For a healthy duration, the decision continued to look baffling as he scored just 17 runs off 23 balls, which saw the required run-rate climb to 17.
6666.6W6616 💥— ICC (@ICC) September 27, 2020
It rained sixes at Sharjah as Rahul Tewatia and Jofra Archer pulled off an unbelievable heist in the #IPL2020
Prior to that onslaught, Rajasthan Royals required 51 off 18 deliveries – they've won with three balls to spare 🤯 pic.twitter.com/nglADX3PJn
But in the 18th over, Tewatia absolved himself and the team's think-tank by smashing five sixes against Sheldon Cottrell before whacking Shami for another to complete his half-century and get the equation down to two off seven balls. Tewatia's six sixes in eight balls turned the game on its head and helped RR chase down a record total.
Samson proves No. 3 is his best spot
It’s hard to believe, given his immense talent, but this was the first instance in Sanju Samson's career where the young batsman has scored half-centuries in back-to-back matches.
With Tewatia struggling to get going after Smith's dismissal, Samson carried his team till his exit, finishing with 85 off 42 balls, keeping RR in the hunt before Tewatia and Archer finished the job off. As we stated in our preview for the contest, Samson's meant to bat at No. 3 and play with the license to go after the bowling attack rather than anchoring the innings like he has been asked to do in the past. Hopefully, 2020 is the year that Samson finally comes good.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Indian T20 League