In match no. 33 of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) prevailed victorious at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium with KL Rahul and Ravichandran Ashwin turning out to be the standouts of the encounter. Winning the toss Ajinkya Rahane opted to field first as Chris Gayle took apart the Rajasthan Royals (RR) bowlers in the first six overs with a quick fire 30 before getting dismissed to Jofra Archer as he nicked one to the keeper.
KL Rahul was steady on one end while Mayank Agarwal attempted in adding further pressure on Rajasthan by striking a few boundaries and sixes on the spinners. His cameo of 26 from 12 deliveries came to end as he handed a catch to Archer – standing at the deep on Ish Sodhi’s over.
On 67-2, South Africa’s David Miller and KL Rahul then got into the act with Rahul accelerating his innings this time around. Miller continued to play his usual game and struck a vital 85 run stand with KL Rahul to revitalize Punjab’s innings.
Rahul’s gritty knock earned him his fourth fifty-plus score in the tournament before Jaydev Unadkat got his prized wicket against the run of play. KL Rahul’s knock of 52 from 47 comprised of three boundaries and couple of sixes.
Nicholas Pooran and Mandeep Singh had a forgettable game after getting out on five and zero respectively as RR looked to make a comeback. David Miller’s wicket for 40 on the final over seemed like Rajasthan had done enough to restrict Punjab to under 170, but a crucial knock of 17 from 5 deliveries by Ravichandran Ashwin swung the momentum in Punjab’s favor with the target being 183 for RR.
Jofra Archer’s spell of 3 for 15 was a vital one for the visitors but Ashwin’s onslaught on Kulkarni in the final over turned out to be the deciding factor.
The 20-year-old left arm pacer Arshdeep Singh was given the nod to bowl the first few overs as he impressed with his swing and even took the onus of bagging the big wicket of Jos Butler for 23. The score read 38-1 in 4 overs and that’s when Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson accumulated a 59 run stand before Samson got bowled by a carom ball delivered by Ravi Ashwin.
Tripathi got to his fifty eventually after being made to open the innings but it was a questionable knock as it added further pressure on the batsmen to come. Rahul Tripathi got dismissed for 50 off 45 deliveries with Ravi Ashwin taking his second wicket of the night.
Australia’s Ashton Turner who’s known for big hitting didn’t trouble the scorers as he was caught on the very first ball by David Miller on Murugan Ashwin’s over. The number four position for Ajinkya Rahane made the batsman uncomfortable as he was unable to get on top of the ball with the required run rate going high. Rahane’s stay on the crease came to an end on 26 with Arshdeep taking a wicket in his second spell of the game.
With over 40 runs needed off 15 deliveries, Stuart Binny tried his best to bring the game to life as he scored 33 of just 11 deliveries with two boundaries and three sixes under his belt. However, Binny’s innings went in vain as the Kings XI Punjab won the game with 12 runs in hand.
Punjab’s win was a much needed for the camp, with them suffering two consecutive defeats prior to the game against RR as they now sit on the fourth spot. Rajasthan, on the other hand, has a big mountain to climb in order to qualify for the playoffs as they reside on seventh.
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Comes from the United Arab Emirates, is a sports junkie and a journalist, who has been following cricket as well as football since childhood. Played cricket in academies, school, and university levels. A fanatic follower of one of Europe's biggest ever football clubs - Manchester United.