IPL 2022: Royals top table with narrow win as Ashwin 'retires out'

West Indies big-hitter Shimron Hetmyer hit an unbeaten 59 off 36 balls and lifted Royals from 67-4 to 165-6


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Shimron Hetmyer of Rajasthan Royals plays a shot. (BCCI)
Shimron Hetmyer of Rajasthan Royals plays a shot. (BCCI)

Published: Mon 11 Apr 2022, 12:32 AM

Rajasthan Royals prevailed in a last-over thriller to edge out Lucknow Super Giants by three runs and top the Indian Premier League table on Sunday.

West Indies big-hitter Shimron Hetmyer hit an unbeaten 59 off 36 balls and lifted Royals from 67-4 to 165-6 in the second match of the day in Mumbai. The innings was marked by the tactical decision of Ravichandran Ashwin to retire out with 10 balls left.

Fast bowler Trent Boult and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal then rattled the opposition batting to restrict Lucknow, one of the two new franchises in the expanded 10-team IPL, to 162-8.

Marcus Stoinis hit an unbeaten 38 off 17 balls to give the Royals a scare but IPL debutant Kuldeep Sen defended 15 off the final over.

The left-handed Hetmyer set up victory with a key 68-run fifth-wicket stand with Ravichandran Ashwin after the Royals were invited to bat first.

Hetmyer made the most of a dropped catch by Krunal Pandya on 14 as later changed gears and hit two sixes and a four against West Indies teammate and Lucknow fast bowler Jason Holder.

Hetmyer smashed four more sixes in the final two overs and Riyan Parag also got a hit over the fence in his four-ball stay.

“Experience he has, really great cricketing sense he has. Has been doing great job for us,” Royals skipper Sanju Samson said of Hetmyer, who was picked up by the team for $1.13 million in the auction.

Royals, who won the inaugural IPL edition in 2008 under late Australian great Shane Warne, stand tall in the expanded 10-team IPL with three wins in four matches.

Lucknow were rattled by a lethal opening burst by New Zealand left-arm quick Boult who bowled skipper KL Rahul for nought on the first ball of the reply and after bowling a wide trapped Krishnappa Gowtham lbw for nought.

Holder fell to Prasidh Krishna with Lucknow on 14-3 and later 74-5.

Quinton de Kock made 39 before falling to Chahal who also took down Krunal Pandya, for 22, two balls later.

Stoinis attempted to turn the game on its head and hit four sixes but the asking rate and Sen’s nerves in the 20th over just proved too big a barrier for Lucknow.

Ashwin first batter to be retired out in IPL

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday became the first batter in Indian Premier League history to be retired out after he walked off following his 28.

Ashwin brought his 23-ball knock to an end in 18.2 overs of the Royals innings against Lucknow Super Giants to allow Riyan Parag join the big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer.

The left-handed Hetmyer smashed an unbeaten 59 off 36 deliveries including six sixes and Parag also got one hit over the fence in his four-ball stay as Royals finished on 165-6.

“I had no idea about it (Ashwin’s retirement) - he was also a bit tired,” Hetmyer said of Ashwin’s rare form of departure.

“It was a good decision, as the kid (Parag) hit a six for us.”

West Indies’ cricketer-turned-commentator Ian Bishop tweeted: “Ashwin retired out is fascinating T20 tactics. T20 is causing us to rethink the way we conceive the game in the 21st century.”

Batters are allowed to retire at any time of the innings when the ball is dead after informing the umpires, according to cricket rules.

Once retired out, a batter cannot come back to take the crease, unlike retired hurt, where a batter can return to finish off his/her innings.

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