Shimron Hetmyer lived up to his Rs 8.5 crore price tag with a six-hitting exhibition before Yuzvendra Chahal and Trent Bout displayed their wizardry with the ball as Rajasthan Royals outwitted Lucknow Super Kings by three runs in an IPL game on Sunday. Invited to bat, star West Indies batter Hetmyer smashed an unbeaten 36-ball 59 to lift RR from 67 for four to 165 for six in 20 overs.
Trent Boult (2/30) then struck twice in a sensational opening over, while Chahal (4/41) picked up four wickets to achieve the feat of claiming 150 IPL victims but Marcus Stoinis blasted two fours and four maximums in his unbeaten 38 off 17 balls to conjure up hopes of a turnaround.
But Kuldeep Sen, making his IPL debut, showed great nerves as he defended 15 runs in the last over as RR limited LSG to 162 for eight.
With this win, RR bounced back from their four-wicket loss to RCB in the last match to take the top position in the IPL standings, while LSG slipped to the fifth spot.
Defending the total, Boult produced a ripping late inswinging yorker to dismiss KL Rahul for a first-ball duck, before trapping Krishnappa Gowtham’s plumb in front in the opening over as LSG slipped to 1 for 2.
Prasidh Krishna then got rid of Jason Holder with a back-of-a-length delivery which took a top-edge and ballooned to Ravichandran Ashwin at mid-on.
Madhya Pradesh pacer Sen made an impressive IPL debut as he disturbed the woods of Deepak Hooda to leave LSG at 52 for four.
The wily Chahal then got into the act as he first foxed young Ayush Badoni (5), and then had Quinton de Kock (39) holed out to Riyan Parag and knocked back the leg stump of Krunal Pandya (22) as RR put one foot in the door.
Needing 34 runs off 12 balls, Stoinis accumulated 19 of Krishna in the penultimate over but Sen held his nerves and gave away just one run in the first four balls to shine on his debut.
Earlier, Jos Buttler (13) and Devdutt Padikkal (29) added 42 runs in five overs but they lost three wickets in a 15-ball burst to be reduced to 67 for four at one stage.
If Buttler was castled by Avesk Khan in his first ball, Gowtham produced a two-wicket burst, removing Devdutt Padikkal and Rasie Van der Dussen (4) in a space of five balls on a track where the ball was holding.
Paddikal, who replaced Yashsavi Jaiswal at the top, lived dangerously before paying the price for a reverse sweep as his top-edge landed in the safe hands of Holder, handing Gowtham also the first-ball wicket.
The left-handed batter survived an LBW appeal in the first over off Dushmantha Chameera before being dropped by Ravi Bishnoi (0/29).
Sanju Samson (13) played two nice shots before being stuck on the pads by a full toss from Jason Holder (2/50).
RR could have been in more danger but Krunal Pandya dropped a dolly at long-on in the 14th over to hand a reprieve to Hetmyer.
It allowed the West Indian to join hands with Ashwin to rebuild the innings with a 68-run stand before the latter was strategically retired out by the RR camp in the slog overs.
The West Indian paced his innings well before going for the shots at the back end as RR amassed 50 runs in the last three overs.
Hetmyer launched into compatriot Holder in the 18th over, clobbering him over deep mid-wicket to bring up the 50-run stand, before sending one fine down the leg-side and then plundering him down the ground. The over yielded 18 runs.
He next hit two sixes of Avesh, before launching Holder for another maximum in the last over.
Rayan Parag, who came in after Ashwin was retired out, also deposited one over deep square leg as the last two overs yielded 16 runs each.