Rajasthan Royals (RR) spearhead Jofra Archer had a friendly smile for England teammate Sam Curran. But the young Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman had nothing to be pleased as 140 kph plus deliveries whizzed past his bat. One touched 149 kph.
What followed in the second over is the kind that pleases Indian cricket beyond IPL. Kartik Tyagi, 19, is the latest from the country’s fast bowling stable. Like Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi from the 2018 U-19 World Cup-winning side now with Kolkata Knight Riders, Tyagi too bowls 140 kph plus. He took 11 wickets in the 2020 junior World Cup, where India were runners-up. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)
Like Nagarkoti and Mavi, Tyagi too has grappled with injuries, an unwanted ally of genuine quicks wanting to let it rip before their bodies develop fully. Tall with a smooth hit-the-deck action, the bowler from Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur town also told Shane Watson after the seasoned Aussie had put away a short ball. He had his man two ball later, drawing the flick to be caught at midwicket.
In his debut season, Tyagi’s wicket apiece in each of his six games makes an impressive list: Quinton de Kock (MI), Shimron Hetmyer (DC), Jonny Bairstow (SRH), Shreyas Iyer (DC) and Virat Kohli (RCB), the latest victim, on Saturday.
Still, Tyagi is a side-show. It has been hard to believe how star-studded RR had managed to get stuck at the bottom of the points table going into a game neither team could afford to lose. After CSK were restricted to 125/5, Jos Buttler stepped up, producing a brilliant unbeaten 70 (48b, 7×4, 2×6) on a tough pitch, steering RR to a seven–wicket win in 17.3 overs. His unbroken 98-run stand saw them through with Smith 26 not out.
It lifted RR to fifth in the standings. CSK, stuck on six points, can at best get only to 14 points which looks unlikely to fetch them a playoffs spot.
MS Dhoni won a good toss on the slow Abu Dhabi pitch and batted, but leg-spinners Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia gave away only 32 runs in eight overs while CSK played out a whopping 51 dot balls (8.3 overs).
Even the modest total came only due to the 51-run stand between Ravindra Jadeja (35*) and Dhoni (28). It looked impressive when Deepak Chahar removed Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson and Josh Hazlewood got Robin Uthappa during the powerplay phase.
RR were pegged at 51/3 though Buttler and a watchful skipper Smith settled in. Buttler, with left hand bandaged, had left keeping to Samson. A brilliant catch to get Faf du Plessis marked his first involvement, and he played an outstanding innings.
Smith dropped anchor while Buttler scored steadily. CSK hopes faded when Buttler hammered leg-spinner Piyush Chawla for three fours to milk 16 runs in the 15th over, effectively sealing the game.