Kings XI Punjab finally came back to winning ways following a comprehensive six-wicket victory against the Rajasthan Royals in the 38th match of Viivo IPL 11.
It was a brilliant performance by the Punjab bowlers which restricted Rajasthan to a below-par score of 152 in their allotted 20 overs. Afghan spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman bagged the Man of the Match award courtesy a match-winning spell of 3/27.
KL Rahul was the top scorer for Punjab with a 54-ball 84. Despite early hiccups, Punjab managed to chase down the total with utmost ease in the end.
It was Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin who won the toss and put Rajasthan in. Jos Buttler kept his opening position intact after a blistering knock in the previous encounter, as D’Arcy Short was his partner.
However, the southpaw got dismissed in the very first over of the match by Ashwin itself. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane also got out in quick succession, as Axar Patel brought about his downfall. Within the 4th over, Rajasthan was reduced to 35/2. There was a good partnership of 49 runs between Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler. Ben Stokes began pretty well by smashing a couple of exquisite shots.
Afghan spinner, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman eventually got rid-off the dominant left-hander. However, the credit of the wicket goes mainly to the joint effort by fielders, Manoj Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal.
The southpaw came dancing down the track in an attempt to smash a six over the long-off region. However, it went high up in the air and Mayank grabbed it near the ropes. But, as he was about to lose his balance, he threw it to Manoj Tiwary who came running down from the long on and safely pouched on to the catch.
Shreyas Gopal played a brilliant hand in the end which eventually propelled Rajasthan to a score of 152 in their allotted 20 overs. Mujeeb was the pick of the Punjab bowlers with three wickets while Andrew Tye also chipped in with a couple.
It was Chris Gayle and KL Rahul who started off proceedings. Rahul struck some gorgeous shots, to begin with. It was Jofra Archer who provided them the maiden breakthrough in the form of Gayle’s wicket. Mayank Agarwal also fell in quick succession which reduced Punjab to 29/2.
Rahul, on the other hand, continued his rich vein of form and kept smashing the Rajasthan bowlers all around the park.
The duo of Rahul and Karun Nair shared a fluent partnership before Anureet Singh castled Karun. Punjab lost Axar Patel in quick succession which reduced Punjab to 87/4. From there on, it was an unbeaten partnership between Rahul and Marcus Stoinis which ensured Punjab reached the target in the 19th over.
Stoinis smashed a couple of fours and a six during his unbeaten knock of 23 off just 16 deliveries. On the other hand, Rahul was the chief contributor to the partnership remaining unbeaten on 85 which was studded with seven fours and three sixes.
Rajasthan Royals 152/9 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 51, Sanju Samson 28, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman 3/27, Andrew Tye 2/24)
Kings XI Punjab 155/4 in 18.4 overs (KL Rahul 84, Krishnappa Gowtham 1/18)
Kings XI Punjab by six wickets (with eight balls remaining)