Rajasthan Royals (RR) did a remarkable job in the run-chase as they beat Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by seven wickets in IPL at Sheikh Zayed Stadium yesterday.
Needing 186 runs to win, RR were off to a flying start as Ben Stokes cut loose to bring up the fastest fifty for any team in the season. The left-hander, meanwhile, zoomed past fifty in 24 balls, hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes.
But KXIP managed to get a much-needed breakthrough in the final over of the powerplay after Stokes got out off Chris Jordan’s bowling. Sanju Samson replaced Stokes in the middle. While KXIP conceded 13 in next two overs, Samson creamed a 4 and two 6s across 9th and 10th over to take RR past 100.
While RR lost Uthappa in 11th over, they continued to score at a brisk pace as Samson continued his merry ways with bat. Over next 3 overs, Samson hit two 4s and a 6 while Smith hit two 4s as RR zoomed past 140 after 14 overs. Sanju was on the brink of his fourth 50 of the season at 15th over but could not reach the landmark following a brilliant direct hit from J. Suchith.
RR needed 40 runs off the last five overs to seal a win and they scored 29 of those in next two overs. First, Buttler creamed a 6 on final ball 16th over to help his side score 10 from that over and then he and Smith hit fours in next over to take RR past 170.
The duo of Smith and Buttler closed out the match in 18th over as RR completed a fine run-chase for second time in a row and kept their playoff hopes alive.
Earlier, KXIP remained unchanged while RR, who elected to bowl, brought in Varun Aaron in place of Ankit Rajpoot.
Jofra Archer struck in first over with a ripping short ball after Stokes took a stunning diving catch to dismiss Mandeep Singh.
Chris Gayle got a life in fourth over after Riyan Parag could not hold on to a catch in the deep off Varun Aaron’s bowling. The left-hander immediately made RR pay for the same as he hammered a 6 and two 4s in the fifth over bowled by Kartik Tyagi.
Rahul joined the party as he creamed a 6 and a 4 in final over of the powerplay as he and Gayle completed a 50-run stand to take KXIP to 53/1 in powerplay.
Gayle tonked his third six of the match in the next over and added a four to his account in the eighth over. Rahul Tewatia was introduced into the attack in ninth over and he made a good start, conceding just two runs in his first over. Rahul then hit a six in the next over as KXIP moved to 81/1 after the halfway stage of their innings.
Gayle then brought up his second successive fifty and third of the season in the 11th over. A couple of overs later, KXIP moved past hundred as Gayle and Rahul completed a century stand.
RR then broke the Gayle-Rahul partnership after Ben Stokes dismissed the KXIP skipper for 46 in the 15th over.
Nicholas Pooran announced his arrival in some style as the left-hander hammered three sixes in the first nine balls he faced. But he got out in the 18th over after Tewatia took a fine catch near the square-leg boundary rope.
Gayle then completed 1,000 sixes in the T20 format and was in with a chance to notch up his seventh IPL hundred, but an Archer delivery ricocheted onto the stumps from his pads and he got out for 99 before KXIP posted 185/4 on the board.
RR: 186/3 (Ben Stokes 50, Sanju Samson 48; Murugan Ashwin 1/43) beat KXIP: 185/4 (Chris Gayle 99, K.L. Rahul 46; Jofra Archer 2/26) by seven wickets.
Today’s Matches (Oct. 31)
DC Vs MI – Dubai Intl. Cricket Stadium, Dubai, 3.30 pm (IST)
RCB Vs SRH – Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah, 7.30 pm (IST)
Tomorrow’s Matches (Nov. 1)
CSK Vs KXIP – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 3.30 pm (IST)
KKR Vs RR – Dubai Intl. Cricket Stadium, Dubai, 7.30 pm (IST)
Monday’s Match (Nov. 2)
DC Vs RCB – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 7.30 pm (IST)
KXIP 185/4 (20 Overs) lose to RR 186/3 (17.3 Overs)
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