Kings XI Punjab made their way to Jaipur to take on Rajasthan Royals in the 40th match of IPL 2018. The two teams had squared off against each other a couple of days back in Indore where KXIP had emerged victorious. But RR came back strong and reversed the result in their home.
Initially, RR won the toss and went against the trend to bat first. Jos Buttler was aggressive from the beginning and hammered 4 fours and a six inside 3 overs. On the other hand, Ajinkya Rahane couldn’t get going and was dismissed by Andrew Tye for 9. To the surprise of everyone, Krishnappa Gowtham was sent in at No.3 to play the pinch-hitter’s role.
Buttler’s solo show
But instead of Gowtham, it was Buttler who fancied that role and powered the score to 63/1 after 6 overs. Marcus Stoinis then accounted for the wicket of Gowtham in the next over. Buttler brought up his half-century off just 27 balls. But after powerplay, there was a notable halt on the scoring rate.
Sanju Samson found it hard to time when the ball was holding in the surface. The run scoring was seemingly difficult as RR reached 102/2 after 13 overs. After the 50-run partnership was up between the duo, Samson got out to Mujeeb Ur Rahman for 22 in the 15th over.
As long as Buttler was at the crease, RR could hope for a big score but he got out at the wrong time. He played an excellent knock of 82 from 58 balls before he was dismissed by Mujeeb. His departure triggered a collapse at the death as 4 more wickets fell in the innings. Tye bagged 3 in the last over to restrict the opposition to 158/8.
The Turning Point
The surface was not an easy one to bat on but KXIP had the batting to chase down the target. All they needed was a good start to chase a mediocre total. But opposite to their expectations, they got off to the worst possible start. The dangerman Chris Gayle could muster just a solitary run and was out stumped off the bowling of Gowtham.
Ravichandran Ashwin made a shocking move of promoting himself to No.3. But it proved to be a howler as he was castled by the off-spinner and he failed to open his account. To add to the misery, Karun Nair fell for just 3 courtesy Jofra Archer. KXIP were left struggling at 20/3 after 4 overs and they failed to recover from the early blows.
Rahul’s class not enough on the night
After the end of the powerplay, KXIP could muster 33/3. The RR spinners Ish Sodhi, Mahipal Lomror and Gowtham made it extremely difficult to score runs on a sluggish deck. The visitors lost Akshdeep Nath and Manoj Tiwary in the next few overs. KL Rahul was the only one who refused to give up.
The required run-rate was climbing with each passing over and KXIP needed 85 runs from 42 balls. Axar Patel got run out in the 14th over that made it even worse. With Rahul losing partners from the other end, it became almost impossible for the opener to keep scoring big.
The equation reached 48 from the last 2 overs. Rahul smashed a few big ones but those turned out to be too little too late. He stayed unbeaten at 95 from 70 balls that included 11 fours and 2 sixes. KXIP lost the match by 15 runs which meant that the hopes of RR for a playoff place still stay alive.
Rajasthan Royals won the toss and opted to bat first
Rajasthan Royals: 158/8 in 20 overs
Jos Buttler 82 (58), Sanju Samson 22 (18)
Andrew Tye 34/4 (4), Mujeeb Ur Rahman 21/2 (4)
Kings XI Punjab: 143/7 in 20 overs
KL Rahul 95* (70), Marcus Stoinis 11 (16)
Krishnappa Gowtham 12/2 (3), Ish Sodhi 14/1 (4)
Kings XI Punjab won by 15 runs
Player of the Match: Jos Buttler