Guwahati : Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain Sanju Samson has defended his decision to bring spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as an opener against Punjab Kings (PBKS), saying that regular opener Jos Buttler suffered an injury scare while taking a catch and had a stitch on his finger.
Chasing 198, RR started with a strange batting line-up as Ravichandran Ashwin came in to open with Yashasvi Jaiswal because Buttler had gone off the field immediately after taking a catch in the last over of the Punjab Kings’ innings to dismiss Shahrukh Khan.
The Royals decided to hold back a regular opener Devdutt Padikkal to face the spinners and Buttler walked out to bat at No. 3 position.The move, however, didn’t turn out to be fruitful for the Royals’ as Padikkal seemed to struggle during his 26-ball 21. The Royals had managed 57 in the powerplay for the loss of three wickets.
“Jos had a small injury, he got injured while fielding and was getting stitches. The physio wanted some time, which wasn’t there to finish the stitches and then go out to open. The thinking of sending Ashwin (to open) and holding everyone back, thinking to hold Devdutt Padikkal in the middle overs was to specially face the spinners they had.
They had a leg-spinner and a left-arm spinner bowling in the middle overs. Padikkal, a left-hander batting in the middle and getting a couple of sixes, was the planning,” Samson said in a post-match presser.
“He is fine. He has done his stitches, batted well. I think he should be fine,” said Samson on Buttler’s injury scare.Samson also came in defence of KM Asif, who was the most expensive bowler with 54 runs off his four-over quota, and said that bowling in death is not an easy job with the dew and he can learn from the way Sam Curran bowled in the final over despite a dew.
“Someone like Asif, who is playing his sixth or seventh IPL game, fifth, it’s very important to back him. We are definitely looking at our Indian pacers who can bowl in the middle (overs) and the death, and the powerplay.
It’s not an easy job, with the dew and the kind of batsmen. He should learn from that and come back much better in the next game. We could see how Sam Curran bowled with the dew, taking his time…he could have bowled much better but we have to look at other factors as well.” Samson said.
Chasing the 198-run target, Royals after a slow start turned the momentum into their favour as Shimron Hetmyer (36 off 18) and Dhruv Jurel (32* off 15) led the fightback. But Curran held his nerve and defended 16 off the last over to help PBKS win by five runs in a tense finish.
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