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IPL 2018: Match 40, RR vs KXIP, Review- Rahul marches on, but Royals avenge defeat

Rajasthan cling on to their hopes of qualification in the the playoffs.

Rajasthan Royals
Kings XI Punjab’s Chris Gayle gets dismissed. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Prior to the game, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) were deemed to be the favourites, especially on the basis of how they played the other day against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. KL Rahul’s brilliance got them home, which have got them even closer to a berth in the playoffs. Rajasthan, on the contrary, played decently, but faltered at crunch moments, which led to their defeat.

They would have been desperate to get off the bottom of the table and somehow find some much-needed rhythm at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. They started well courtesy Jos Buttler but were rocked with a flurry of wickets in the second-half of their innings. Nevertheless, the bowlers dictated terms to Punjab batsmen and despite KL Rahul’s brilliant knock, they managed to sneak through by 15 runs.

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Buttler shines but Rajasthan stumble  

The pitch seemed to be on the slower side and hence Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bat first. He and Buttler opened the batting for the Royals and blazed away inside the power-play. Buttler looked at the home and spanked the bowling just how he did in the preceding two games. Meanwhile, his partner looked all at sea and was nipped out by Andrew Tye with a knuckleball.

Krishnappa Gowtham was promoted to number three, but the tactic flopped as he could only manage eight runs and was picked up by Marcus Stoinis. Sanju Samson joined Buttler at the wicket and the duo carved a 53-run stand, which laid the platform for a blistering finish. Buttler’s knock went from strength to strength and he notched his third consecutive half-century in 27 balls.

However, both were dismissed in quick succession, which put the skids under the home team to a large extent. Both batsmen fell prey to Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s brilliance with the ball. While Samson perished to a mistimed pull shot, Buttler was stumped by Rahul for 82 runs when he charged down the wicket. Stuart Binny who replaced Shreyas Gopal, spanked a massive six over long-on off Tye to start his knock.

However, he couldn’t carry on and failed to give the finishing kick to the innings. Thereafter, Rajasthan stumbled to 158 runs for the loss of eight wickets. Tye was arguably the pick of the bowlers with four wickets in his spell, which never allowed Rajasthan to get away with the game. He also dismissed Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat for a golden duck.

KL Rahul- The lone warrior

The target was a tad tricky on a slow wicket, but it wasn’t out of Punjab’s reach by any means. KL Rahul and Chris Gayle were in with a task to kick-start the run-chase. They slumped inside the powerplay as Gowtham pinned Chris Gayle and Ravichandran Ashwin, who promoted himself up the order, in quick succession. Jofra Archer accounted for Karun Nair’s dismissal, which left them reeling at 19/3 in 3.4 overs.

Nevertheless, Rahul’s presence at the other end was enough to keep their hopes alive in the match. Akshdeep Nath who was drafted in place of Mayank Agarwal went for an ugly hoick off Ish Sodhi, which traced into the hands of Gowtham at mid-wicket. Manoj Tiwary came and couldn’t survive the heat either and all of a sudden the visitors were five wickets down with quite a few runs to get.

On the contrary, Rahul piled his second consecutive half-century in 48 balls, however, the required rate was over 12 runs per over. Axar Patel got himself strangled in a shambolic run-out, which made the target even more strenuous to achieve. The worrying factor for Punjab was that Rahul was slowly, but surely running out of partners and it was evident that their fate rested on him from then onwards.

Rahul played his heart out and scored 95 runs, but got no semblance of support from the other end. Marcus Stoinis struggled hard for his knock of 11 runs off 16 balls, which was ended by Jaydev Unadkat. His score was also the second highest after the opener which summed up Punjab’s dismal performance. Rajasthan, with the victory, move to the sixth position.

Brief Scores

Rajasthan Royals: 158/8 in 20 overs; Jos Buttler 82, Sanju Samson 22; Andrew Tye 4/34, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2/21

Kings XI Punjab: 143/7 in 20 overs; KL Rahul 95, Marcus Stoinis 11; Krishnappa Gowtham 2/12, Ish Sodhi 1/14

Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs

Player of the Match: Jos Buttler

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