On a pitch that was a challenge for batters, Lucknow Super Giants's Kyle Mayers put on a show at the Sawai Mansingh stadium on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
Mayers took a while to get going, but kept the scoreboard rotating with K L Rahul.
Be it a cover drive or a flat batted six, the Barbadian batter made his shots count. He also played the bowling with respect.
Although LSG only scored 37 in the Powerplay overs -- the lowest score in the PP this season -- Mayers looked for his shots when the poor ball came his way.
Mayers was watchful when needed against Yuzvendra Chahal, but also took the legspinner to the boundaries, exhibiting his knowledge of playing against spin. He brought up his fifty with a lovely punch through covers. His presence in the middle was crucial especially after LSG lost Rahul and then Ayush Badoni and Deeoak Hooda in quick succession.
Mayers (51) was the next to go, but not before playing a crucial hand at the top of the order.
With the lowest total to defend this season, Rajasthan were expected to pocket the game, what with players like Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer in the line-up.
Jaiswal and Buttler gave Rajasthan a decent start and put on an 87-run opening stand. They brought up their 50 in 7 overs. They had taken on Avesh Khan and leg-spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Amit Mishra until Marcus Stoinis came into the attack. The Aussie bowled tight and got the first breakthrough, sending Jaiswal to the dugout. He then had Buttler caught in the deep to have RR in trouble.
Stoinis, Avesh and especially Afghan debutant Naveen-ul-Haq kept the batters in check. They hit the right lengths to trouble the batters and although Stoinis was smashed by Devdutt Padikkal for 13 runs in the 18th, Naveen and Avesh, who took out Padikkal and Dhruv Jurel in a pressure cooker situation, saw their team through.