It was time for match no. 51 of IPL 2021 and Rajasthan Royals were up against Mumbai Indians in a crucial contest in the race to playoffs. Interestingly, both sides made a couple of changes for this virtual knockout clash, much to the surprise of all fans. While RR named Shreyas Gopal and Kuldip Yadav in the side, MI recalled Ishan Kishan in the playing XI in place of Quinton de Kock, opening up a spot for James Neesham to play his first game of UAE leg.
The Kiwi all-rounder did not have a great first half of the season, where he played only one game and failed to make any impact. After being presented with an opportunity to play in such a crucial game in Sharjah, Neesham did not take much time to justify his selection.
Neesham takes the all-important wicket of Sanju Samson
RR got to a steady start in the contest, with the score reading 41/2 in 6 overs. The powerplay had ended and MI skipper Rohit Sharma decided to introduce James Neesham into the attack. The pitch was slowing down and Neesham was expected to prove to be effective with his medium-pace bowling. And this is what exactly happened!
The decision paid instant dividends as Samson tried to play a cut shot on the very first delivery of Neesham, hitting the ball straight into the hands of Jayant Yadav standing at a backward point. Neesham and Hitman were expectedly elated as they had got the all-important wicket of RR skipper very early in the innings.
Watch the video here:
The 31-year-old continued his dream return to the side as he also sent in-form batsman Shivam Dube back to the pavilion in his very next over. As Dube tried to drive Neesham, the ball found an inside edge and crashed onto the stumps, giving the Kiwi his second wicket of the match.