IPL 2023: Hetmyer, Samson fifties help Rajasthan Royals beat Gujarat Titans by 3 wickets

Rajasthan Royals were literally in a no man’s land at 66/4 in 12 overs in their pursuit of chasing down 178 against a strong Gujarat Titans bowling attack, who bowled 26 dot balls in the first six overs.

From there, captain Sanju Samson took 20 runs off Rashid Khan in the 13th over to eventually make 60 while Shimron Hetmyer smashed a whirlwind unbeaten 56 off just 26 balls to give Rajasthan an improbable three-wicket victory in 23rd match of the IPL 2023, here on Sunday.

The stunning heist also means that Rajasthan retain their top spot on the points table with eight points. Samson and Hetmyer added a crucial stand of 59 runs off 27 balls, followed by the latter adding 47 runs off 20 deliveries with Dhruv Jurel to complete the chase with four balls to spare.

Mohammed Shami built pressure from the word go, troubling Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler. Gujarat got the reward when Hardik Pandya had Jaiswal nicking to slip in the next over. Shami bowled a wicket maiden third over and took out Buttler, whose attempt to scoop backfired and could only see off-stump being sent on a cartwheel ride.

Gujarat could have got their third wicket had Shubman Gill held on to a tough chance at slip to dismiss Devdutt Padikkal off Shami. The left-handed batter then lofted Hardik inside-out over extra cover for six as Rajasthan ended power-play at 26/2. Samson and Padikkal hit a six and four each off Alzarri Joseph, with the Rajasthan captain driving Hardik in the gap between extra cover and mid-off after surviving an lbw appeal.

Rashid straightaway made a breakthrough as Padikkal’s heave took an outside edge and was caught by short third man. The leg-spinner struck again in his next over as Riyan Parag holed out to a forward diving long-off. Samson, though, had other ideas, taking Rashid for a hat-trick of sixes — once over long-off and twice pulling over deep mid-wicket.

Hetmyer took on Joseph by heaving high past leaping deep square leg for six and slogging through the same region for four more, before Samson got his fifty in 29 balls. Samson took on debutant spinner Noor Ahmad, lifting a drive over long-off for six and pulling past short fine leg for four.

But the teenager, coming in as an impact player for Gill, had the last laugh as Samson skied to long-off to get his first IPL wicket. Hetmyer turned the tide by smacking two gigantic sixes off Joseph in the 16th over, with Dhruv Jurel dabbing for a four. He then pulled Rashid for four, before slamming a six over long-on to take 13 runs off the 18th over.

Jurel welcomed Shami by smacking over long-on for six. But the pacer bounced back by having Jurel top-edge a hook to fine leg. Ravichandran Ashwin slapped his first ball over point for four, and followed it up with a pulled six over deep mid-wicket. Though Ashwin fell by slicing to short third man, Hetmyer finished off the chase by pulling Ahmad over deep mid-wicket for six to complete a sensational chase for Rajasthan.

Brief Scores: Gujarat Titans 177/7 in 20 overs (David Miller 46, Shubman Gill 45; Sandeep Sharma 2/25, Adam Zampa 1/32) lost to Rajasthan Royals 179/7 in 19.2 overs (Sanju Samson 60, Shimron Hetmyer 56 not out; Mohammed Shami 3/25, Rashid Khan 2/46) by three wickets.

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