R Ashwin became the first batter in IPL history to be deliberately retired out by the Rajasthan Royals against the Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday evening.

Ashwin went off after two balls of the 19th over, when the team’s total was 135 for 4, having scored 28 runs off 23 balls. He was promoted to No. 6 in the tenth over, ostensibly to provide the normal No. 6 Riyan Parag a more acceptable point of entrance.

Parag finished with eight runs on four balls, as they finished with 165 thanks to Shimron Hetmyer’s winning kick!

What does the rule say?

The relevant law states:

“A batsman retires out if he retires without the umpire’s permission and does not have the permission of the opposing captain to resume his innings. If such a return does not occur, the batman is marked as ‘retired out’ and this is considered a dismissal for the purposes of calculating a batting average.”

So, Ashwin was in his full right to pull a unique stunt like this!

Has this happened before?

It had never happened before in the tournament’s history, which began in 2008, but Ashwin, ever the trendsetter, took the huge choice so that Parag can come and attack the bowlers at the conclusion of the innings.

This was the first tactical retired-out dismissal in IPL history, but it has happened before [see graphic] in the format and even in international cricket. Sonam Togbay of Bhutan retired at the end of the 19th over against Maldives in the 2019 South Asian Games.

Because T20 innings are so short, teams want to make the most of each ball and can’t afford a less-than-ideal player hitting in scenarios better suited to other batters.

What happened in the match?

LSG, chasing 166 runs was shocked by two early wickets in the first over. Trent Bould, the Royals’ pacer, got off to a flying start, knocking Lucknow Super Giants skipper KL Rahul and Krishnappa Gowtham for ducks.

With LSG down 14-3, Jason Holder was the third batsman to go early. Quinton De Kock and Deepak Hooda did just that, stitching together a partnership before Hooda was removed for 25 runs off 24 balls.

Yuzvendra Chahal also dismissed De Kock for 39 runs.

Marcus Stoinis, playing his debut match for LSG, led the fightback with an undefeated 38 off 17 balls, but the squad fell three runs short of the objective!