Sandeep Sharma Shines as Rajasthan Royals Triumph in IPL Opener

Sandeep Sharma Shines as Rajasthan Royals Triumph in IPL Opener

Rajasthan Royals (RR) spinner Ravichandran Ashwin heaped praise on right-arm seamer Sandeep Sharma for his exceptional performance in their IPL 2024 opener against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). Sharma’s economical spell of 3 overs for 22 runs, including a wicket, played a crucial role in RR’s 20-run victory at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Ashwin highlighted the impact of Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag’s 93-run partnership, which laid the foundation for RR’s competitive total of 193/4. Samson’s unbeaten 82 off 52 balls, studded with six maximums and three fours, was a standout performance. Parag contributed a valuable 43 off 29 balls, including three sixes.

“Sanju and Riyan batted really well,” Ashwin said. “But I felt we were 10 runs short, with so many impact players coming up in the form of Hetmyer and Jurel.”

Ashwin also praised Sharma’s consistency and work ethic. “Sandy has been a top-5 bowler (in the IPL),” Ashwin said. “He’s a character, does the dirty work for us, did a lot to cover for Prasidh in the last season as well. I see him as a fighter.”

In the chase, LSG was reduced to 11/3 before Deepak Hooda and KL Rahul steadied the innings. However, RR bowlers Trent Boult, Sandeep, Ashwin, Nandre Burger, and Yuzvendra Chahal combined to restrict LSG to 173/6, with Nicholas Pooran’s 64 off 41 balls proving insufficient.

Boult was the pick of the bowlers with 2/35, while Sandeep, Ashwin, Burger, and Chahal took a wicket each. Samson was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’ for his match-winning half-century.