Rahul shines in Kings XI Punjab’s win over Rajasthan Royals
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Rahul shines in Kings XI Punjab’s win over Rajasthan Royals

K.L. Rahul smashed a classy unbeaten half-century after young off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s exploits with the ball to guide Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to a comfortable six wicket win over laggards Rajasthan Royals (RR) in an IPL match yesterday.

Chasing a modest 153 run target, Rahul anchored Kings XI’s innings from start to finish, scoring 84 off just 54 balls with the help of seven boundaries and three sixes to guide his side home with eight balls to spare.

Kings XI’s chase, however, started on a bad note as they lost dangerous Chris Gayle (8) and Mayank Agarwal (2) in successive overs.

While Gayle cut Jofra Archer straight to Sanju Samson at point in the fourth over, Agarwal pulled a short delivery from Ben Stokes to Rahul Tripathi at long leg.

Then Rahul and Karun Nair (31) shared a 50-run stand for the third wicket off just 37 balls to stabilise Kings XI’s chase before the latter dragged Anureet Singh’s short delivery back onto his stumps as Kings XI were reduced to 79 for three.

Axar Patel (4) too didn’t last long as he lofted Ksishnappa Gowtham straight to D’Arcy Shot at deep midwicket.

But Rahul went about his business calmly and guided Kings XI’s chase by holding on to the fort from one side. Rahul brought up his fifty in the 17th over with an upper cut six off Archer to bring down the equation to 27 runs off 18 balls.

Rahul and Marcus Stoinis (23 not out) shared unconquered 68 runs for the fifth wicket to comfortably take Kings XI past the winning margin and enable their side climb up to the third spot in the points table.

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Earlier, Mujeeb led an impressive bowling display from Kings XI to restrict struggling Rajasthan to a modest 152 for nine. Mujeeb (3/27) struck in the first two deliveries of the 15th over, first removing dangerous -looking Buttler and then Archer to stand in with a chance of registering a hat-trick. But it didn’t come as he bowled a wide delivery in the next ball.

However, Mujeeb’s exploits were enough to keep Rajasthan in check as Kings XI kept on losing wickets at regular intervals from the start after being sent into bat. Besides Mujeeb, Andrew Tye (2/24), Axar Patel (1/21), skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (1/30) and Ankit Rajpoot (1/37) were the other wicket-takers for Kings XI.

Mujeeb Ur Rehman was chosen as the Player of the match for his splendid bowling.

Mumbai Indians beat Kolkata Knight Riders

Suryakumar Yadav’s successive half century and an all-round performance from Hardik Pandya powered Mumbai Indians (MI) to a 13-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), keeping them in play-offs contention in the IPL.

Yadav (59 off 39) continued his rich run with a fourth fifty of the tournament before Pandya (35* off 20) plundered the KKR attack to nudge the hosts to 181 for four. Yadav’s opening partner Evin Lewis (45 off 28) too made a valuable contribution in the 91-run stand.

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (36* off 26) tried his best to get his team over the line but was unable to after the visitors needed 60 runs off the last 30 balls.

By the final over, KKR needed 23 runs and Krunal Pandya defended them comfortably with the innings ending at 168 for six. Robin Uthappa’s (54 off 35) first fifty plus score of the competition also went in vain.

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It was another much needed win for slow starters Mumbai, who had beaten KXIP on Friday. They remain in fifth spot in the standings with eight points, having earned their fourth win in 10 games.

KKR, on the other hand, remain in the top-four with 10 points after their fifth loss in 10 matches.

Hardik Pandya was chosen as the Player of the Match.

May 7, 2018

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