"Hopefully, I can contribute and see if we can get a few more wins," Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith said after beating Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens a few days back. Smith's troops rallied behind him in their last home game in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday and notched up a fine win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.   

The surface in Jaipur was on a slower side, and anything between 170-180 runs was expected to be a promising score. With the wicket expected to deteriorate, Smith made an interesting call and asked the visitors to bat first. 

The hosts struck first blood in the first 17 minutes of the match. However, Manish Pandey along with in-form David Warner helped the visitors to get back on track as they strung 75 runs together. Pandey was the aggressor in the partnership as he registered his second half-century of the season. The Royals dented SRH's inexperienced middle order and restricted them to a below-par total. 

In response, the Royals had a plan and were able to execute it perfectly, giving the Men in Pink their fifth win in the ongoing edition of the IPL.

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Let's look at the factors that shaped the game for Rajasthan Royals and helped them to finish their home engagements on a high. 

1. Royals tore Hyderabad's inexperienced middle order

Put in to bat, Sunrisers Hyderabad lost their skipper Kane Williamson early in the innings. Pandey and Warner, however, thwarted the Rajasthan bowlers and took Hyderabad's total to 103 runs in the first 12 overs of the innings. With eight overs still remaining, Williamson's side was expected to finish near 200. However, cricket is called a game of glorious uncertainties and that proved to be the case once again.

In the space of eight overs, Hyderabad lost seven wickets and managed to score just 57 runs. The dismissal of Warner opened the floodgates for the Royals, who ran through the inexperienced SRH middle order and kept the run rate in check. The majority of the SRH wickets came via slower balls. SRH managed to finish at 160 runs in 20 overs. 

2. Rahane-Livingstone laid the foundation for Royals to register a famous win

Chasing 160, the Royals needed their openers to help them with a decent start, and one has to say, Ajinkya Rahane and Liam Livingstone scripted the chase beautifully. Rahane was accompanied by a new opening partner in the form of Livingstone, who is known for his power-hitting, in this match. At the start of the innings, Rahane was the aggressor while Livingstone was anchoring the innings. 

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However, it took Livingstone just a few overs to decide that he was going to open his arms. He hammered the bowlers all around the park. He strung together a partnership of 78 runs with Rahane and that pushed Hyderabad on the back foot. Once the duo departed, Sanju Samson stepped in and batted through the innings to help his side record the third victory at home with five balls to spare.