In the 32nd game of the intriguing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 expedition, Ravichandran Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) recorded a sensational 12-run victory against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. The hosts registered a pretty challenging first innings total at the back of KL Rahul’s half-century and some exhibitory cameo knocks.
In the second innings, the Royals’ batters never looked at ease as they struggled to rotate the strike on consistent basis and thus, the required run-rate started rising towards the cussing point. Rahul Tripathi compiled a fine half-century knock and Stuart Binny contributed with an entertaining unbeaten cameo, but the KXIP bowlers displayed brilliant combined efforts to steer their team to an amazing win.
Rahul’s uncharacteristic fifty and Ashwin’s splendid finish takes KXIP to 182
Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to field first as he reckoned that it is a pretty dry wicket and chasing teams have always dominated here. KXIP opener Chris Gayle got his team off to an incredible start, smashing Jaydev Unadkat for two successive monstrous sixes in just the second over. He played an entertaining brief knock of 30 runs which consisted of 2 fours and 3 sixes, before falling victim to Jofra Archer in the sixth over. After Gayle’s dismissal, it was time for Mayank Agarwal’s onslaught. He contributed a useful cameo of 26 runs before getting trapped by Ish Sodhi.
Batters kept on playing cameos at an end, while KL Rahul was looking in a total uncharacteristic mood, starting on a tentative note and then excelling very well to register yet another half-century this season. Archer pulled off things amazingly well in the 19th over, picking two crucial wickets and gave away just three runs. But towards the end, KXIP skipper Ravichandran Ashwin brought another twist in the tale, smashing a vital 4-ball 17 to guide his team towards an imposing total of 182 runs. Archer was the pick of the RR bowlers, claiming three wickets at a brilliant economy rate of 3.80.
KXIP bowlers survive Tripathi-Binny scare
RR opener Jos Buttler started off things in an explosive manner, smacking a lovely 17-ball 23-run knock. However, his innings was cut short by Arshdeep Singh, who was playing in his debut IPL match and it was surely a big moment for him to make Buttler his first victim in the IPL. After that early wicket, RR wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson joined hands with Rahul Tripathi to bail their team out of the troublesome position. The duo added an excellent partnership of 59 runs for the second wicket.
Rahul was looking in a solid touch, bringing up his first half-century of the season. But then the KXIP skipper, Ravichandran Ashwin bowled a superb spell to dismiss both Rahul and Samson which in turn left the visitors reeling in the run-chase. However, towards the end, Stuart Binny smashed a terrific cameo innings of 33 runs off just 11 balls to take the game deep as possible, but eventually he failed to take his over the finishing line. For KXIP, the trio of Mohammed Shami, Ravi Ashwin and Arshdeep Singh bowled very well to end with two wickets each in the winning effort.
KXIP: 182/6 in 20 overs (KL Rahul-52, David Miller-40; Jofra Archer 3/15)
RR: 170/7 in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi-50, Stuart Binny-33; Ravichandran Ashwin 2/24, Arshdeep Singh 2/43)
Result: Kings XI Punjab won the match by 12 runs.