IPL 2018: Rahul's Heroics in Vain as Rajasthan Edge Punjab to Stay Alive in the Competition

    Cricketnext Staff | Updated: May 9, 2018, 11:09 AM IST
    IPL 2018: Rahul's Heroics in Vain as Rajasthan Edge Punjab to Stay Alive in the Competition

    KL Rahul and Jaydev Unadkat greet each other after Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League. (BCCI Image)

    Jaipur: KL Rahul's unbeaten 95 went in vain as Rajasthan Royals edged Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs to stay alive in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Tuesday.

    Chasing a fighting target of 159, Punjab got off to a bad start as Gowthan dismissed the Chris Gayle for just 1 on the first ball of the third over. Then, couple of deliveries later, he got the wicket of skipper R Ashwin for a duck, who had promoted himself up the order, a ploy that failed miserably.

    Karun Nair didn't trouble the scorers much either as he became Jofra Archer's only scalp of the day for 3. Rahul then tried to steady the ship with Aksdeep Nath and the duo took the Punjab's score closer to the 50-run mark with some careful batting.

    However, the 26-run partnership between the duo was ended by Ish Sodhi, who dismissed Aksdeep for 9. Manoj Tiwary didn't last long either as he hit a Ben Stokes delivery straight into the hands of skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the covers for 7.

    Axar Patel soon followed suit after a brilliant piece of fielding by Stuart Binny saw the back of the all-rounder for 9. However, Rahul continued to wage a lone battle and he notched up his fourth fifty of the tournament.

    Marcus Stonis and Rahul then joined forces in the middle and the duo took the KXIP score closer to the target. But the 46-run stand was eventually broken when Stoinis was dismissed by Unadkat for 11.

    Rahul continued to deal in four and sixes till the last ball was bowled and he once again carried his bat and remained unbeaten for 95. Because of his heroics, Rahul is now the proud owner of the orange cap but even his blazing innings couldn't save his team from this defeat.

    Earlier, Buttler led the way with a 82-run knock before Kings XI Punjab bowlers fought back. Pacer Andre Tye was the most successful KXIP bowler, returning figures of 4/34, while mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman picked up 2/21 in four overs.

    Buttler began Royals' innings in great fashion, hitting Marcus Stoinis for two successive boundaries in the first over itself. The Englishman looked in rampaging form as he smashed Axar Patel for a six over extra cover before going inside out to collect a boundary.

    Skipper Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed by Tye, who fooled the batsman with a knuckle ball, inducing an edge to extra cover. But Buttler continued his onslaught on the Rajasthan bowlers as he picked two consecutive boundaries off Tye. Gowtham, too, fell quickly as he was sent back by Stoinis in the seventh over.

    A half-century partnership then ensued between Buttler and the talented Sanju Samson (22) but the run rate dropped as the Royals batsmen, including the Englishman, struggled to find the boundaries.

    After the brisk start, there was a period in the middle overs when Rajasthan Royals failed to hit a boundary for 25 balls. Buttler finally managed a boundary off Mujeeb Ur Rahman and then got a four off the bowling of Axar, thanks to poor fielding by Tye.

    But that was it as RR again went without a boundary for 14 deliveries before Samson produced a flat-batted six off Ashiwn, sending the ball over long-off.

    Samson brought up the fifty partnership by playing Ashwin for another boundary, but Mujeeb struck for Kings XI Punjab when he had the batsman who struggled to play freely during his 18-ball stay in the middle.

    Finally, Buttler's innings came to an end when Mujeeb had him stumped with Royals' score reading 132 for four in the 17th over. He stuck nine fours and a six. Stuart Binny hit Tye for a six but Rajasthan simply lost their after a flying start and were eventually restricted to a very achievable score.


    First Published: May 9, 2018, 12:09 AM IST

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