"The thinking behind..."- Sanju Samson revealed why Ashwin batted ahead of Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal vs PBKS
The 8th game of the 2023 Indian Premier League saw a high-scoring thriller between Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati. A total of 389 runs were scored in 40 overs, with Shikhar Dhawan and his men ending up on the winning side.
It was Rajasthan that won the toss and decided to chase. Punjab got off to a brilliant start, with both openers scoring 90 runs for the opening stand in just 9.4 overs. Prabhsimran Singh was the aggressor, scoring a quick 60 off 34 balls, including seven fours and three sixes.
PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan carried on to his good form and carried his bat through the inning. He scored an unbeaten 86 off 56, with three sixes and nine fours. Jitesh Sharma also played a good cameo of 16-ball 27. As a result, PBKS ended up scoring 197/4 in their first inning.
It was not a big target for RR with in-form batters at the top. But surprisingly, RR sent Ravi Ashwin to open the inning with Yashasvi Jaiswal, in place of Jos Buttler for some reasons. That move didn't work, and Ashwin had a 4-ball duck, which did put some pressure on RR.
Notably, in the post-match presentation, RR skipper Sanju Samson revealed the reason for sending Ashwin in place of Buttler. However, RR had another opening option in Devdutt Padikkal, who batted at No. 4. Samson also talked about that.
Samson said, "Jos wasn't fully fit. He had a stitch on his finger. The thinking behind Devdutt Padikkal at No. 4 was we knew that they had a left-arm spinner (Harpreet Brar) and legspinner (Rahul Chahar) who would be bowling in the middle overs. So, it was important for us to have a left-hander."
In the end, Rajasthan reached 192/7 in their chase and fell short by 5 runs of the target. There were a few contributions in the middle, but none of them went on to make a big score. RR will now face Delhi Capitals at the same venue on April 8.