Catches win matches in cricket and thus a dropped chance can, at times, make the difference between victory and defeat. It happened to Lucknow Super Giants in Match 20 against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
Reduced to 67/4 in the 10th over, Rajasthan Royals were trying to resurrect their innings through Shimron Hetmyer and Ravichandran Ashwin.
They had reached 84/4 when Hetmyer got a life and went on to change the complexion of the game. Rajasthan Royals posted a modest total and went on to win the match by three runs thanks to some brilliant bowling by Trest Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal and debutant Kuldeep Sen, who showed nerves of steel to defend 15 runs in the last over.
But the match turned on its head in that fateful 14th over when Lucknow Super Giants dropped a catch from Hetmyer.
Krunal Pandya turned out to be the villain of the piece as he grassed a simple catch when Hetmyer tried to pull a Krishnappa Gowtham delivery that wasn't short enough and thus failed to middle it. Pandya ran behind to take the catch at long-on but the ball popped out of his hands.
The dropped chance proved very costly as Hetmyer, who was batting on 15 at that time, went on to score 59 not out off 36 balls, taking Rajasthan Royals to 165/6 in 20 overs.
Hetmyer hammered compatriot Jason Holder for two sixes and a four in the 18th over and then blasted Avesh Khan for back-to-back sixes in the next over.
With Riyan Parag, who came in after Ashwin tactically got himself retired out, hitting eight runs off four balls, Rajasthan Royals scored 50 runs in the last three overs to reach a competitive total.
When Lucknow Super Giants started their reply, New Zealand seamer Trent Boult claimed two wickets off the first two deliveries of the innings to push them on the back foot.
Though Deepak Hooda, Quinton de Kock, and Marcus Stoinis kept their chances alive, they eventually fell short by three runs, ending at 162/8 in 20 overs.20220411-142602