IPL 2018: Match 38, KXIP vs RR, Review- Mujeeb and Rahul combine to complete Rajasthan ravage

IPL 2018: Match 38, KXIP vs RR, Review- Mujeeb and Rahul combine to complete Rajasthan ravage

Punjab move to the third position while Rajasthan stay at the bottom of the table.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul of Kings XI Punjab in action. (Photo by IANS)

Prior to this game, the Rajasthan Royals (RR) found themselves at the bottom of the table and needed a victory to arrest their slump. However, their opponents were the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) who weren’t going to be an easy proposition for Ajinkya Rahane’s men. Meanwhile, Punjab, following their week off, were defeated by the Mumbai Indians (MI) and would’ve wished to get back their winning momentum.

The match between Punjab and Rajasthan was vital from both team’s viewpoint. The wicket at the Holkar Stadium in Indore was helpful for the batsmen, the other night, but it also had something for the bowlers. The game turned out to be a closely fought one, but KL Rahul’s stupendous knock helped Punjab to their sixth victory, which took them above Kolkata Knight Riders to the third spot in the table.

Buttler shines, but Rajasthan collapse

Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and elected to field first, which was sensible for the reason that their batting lineup has the potential to trace down the steepest of targets. Rajasthan’s opening duo was retained from the previous game as Jos Buttler and D’Arcy Short opened the batting today. The visitors got off to the worst possible start as Short went for an outrageous stroke and was dismissed by Ashwin.

Ajinkya Rahane followed suit as he became Axar Patel’s maiden wicket. Chris Gayle took a stupendous catch diving forward in the short third-man region to send back the RR skipper. On the other hand, Buttler carried forward his form from the erstwhile match and peppered the boundaries with ease. Sanju Samson joined Buttler for the third wicket and the duo racked up 49 runs off 43 balls.

Samson was starting to look ominous when Andrew Tye’s short delivery got rid of him. Ben Stokes promised with a couple of fours, but a brilliant relay act by Mayank Agarwal and Manoj Tiwary at the long-off boundary led to his dismissal. Agarwal grabbed the ball but realized that the momentum was likely to take him over the ropes, hence he parried the ball to Tiwary who completed the formalities.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, with the dismissal, opened his account. Buttler, who scored 51 off 39 balls, became Mujeeb’s second victim. The Afghan spinner produced a wrong’un which castled Jofra Archer. Thereafter Shreyas Gopal showed some resistance and his knock of 24 runs off 16 balls guided Punjab to 152/9 at the end of 20 overs.

KL Rahul shepherds team to victory

For a batting powerhouse like Punjab, the target didn’t seem like an uphill task by any means. Gayle and KL Rahul opened the batting. The Jamaican was kept quiet by Krishnappa Gowtham, who bowled five dot deliveries to start with. Archer then generated tremendous pace and bowled really close to the off-stump which pushed Gayle on the back-foot. However, the left-handed batsman was equal to the task and spanked him for a couple of boundaries.

Nevertheless, Archer pinned him courtesy a sharp catch by Samson at the point region and drew first blood for the Royals. Mayank Agarwal, who batted in the lower order against Rohit Sharma’s men, was promoted to his old slot at number three. He couldn’t survive long either and fell to Stokes. Karun Nair and Rahul carved a 50-run stand off 37 balls and pegged away towards the target.

Nair was cleaned up by Anureet Singh and a couple of overs later, Gowtham got rid of Axar Patel. Meanwhile, Rahul curbed his natural instincts and looked to put his head down for a responsible knock. He survived a massive scare when Sanju Samson seemed to have plucked a brilliant catch, diving forward. However, the decision was sent upstairs and was reversed, much to Rahul’s relief.

He accomplished is half-century in 44 balls with a massive six over third-man off Archer. 16 runs were scored in that over. In the next over, Rahul came onto his own and mustered 15 runs off Unadkat, which made them firm favourites. Marcus Stoinis also played a handy knock of 23 runs off 16 balls as Punjab romp home with eight balls to spare. Rajasthan stay at the bottom of the table.

Brief Scores

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*, Karun Nair 31; Krishnappa Gowtham 1/18, Ben Stokes 1/22

Kings XI Punjab beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets

Player of the Match: Mujeeb Ur Rahman