Riyan Parag slammed an unbeaten 56 to guide Rajasthan Royals to a 29-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at MCA Stadium in Pune. It was a low-scoring clash as batters from both sides struggled to break free on a pitch that provided ample grip to the bowlers.
Halfway through the game, Rajasthan had lost their much-vaunted top four for just 68, and they needed a heavy lifting from Riyan Parag to reach the competitive total.
Parag took a measured approach for most of his innings before exploding in the last two overs. In the final over of the innings, bowled by Harshal Patel, Parag smacked two sixes and a four to bring 18 runs off an over.
Parag was walking back to the dugout, when Harshal, who was frustrated with his efforts, passed a comment. The 20-year-old batter turned back, and a heated conversation with the bowler ensued. Dishant Yagnik, Rajasthan’s fielding coach, intervened and took Harshal away from the scene.
Even Mohammed Siraj was charging toward the Rajasthan batter before being stopped by Yagnik.
The bitter feelings continued until the end of the game. After Bangalore lost its last wicket, Harshal refused to shake hands with Parag.
Bangalore were again let down by their batters, as they failed to chase down a mediocre target. Barring Faf du Plessis, none of the batters scored more than 20 runs. For Rajasthan, Kuldeep Sen claimed four wickets, while R Ashwin finished with three wickets.
Apart from scoring a brilliant half-century, Riyan Parag grabbed four catches, and was adjudged ‘Player of the Match.’
“The Royals have shown faith in me for the last three years, and I am paying them back bit by bit. I love pressure and I am just showcasing my abilities. During the time-out, Sanga came out and we agreed that 140 was a good total on this wicket. We decided to go big in the last two overs,” said Parag in the post-match conference.