Chasing 183 to win, RR could only muster 170-7 in reply as KXIP’s spinners successfully stifled the batsmen in the middle overs before wickets fell in a heap towards the end of the innings.
RR started the chase well and even with the dangerous Jos Buttler departing early in the for just 23, they looked in control of the chase with Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson at the crease.
The two put together a 59-run stand for the second wicket but once Samson departed, RR found the going hard thanks to some canny slow bowling from the hosts – despite Mujeeb ur Rahman being unable to bowl his final over after injuring his shoulder in the field.
Tripathi and skipper Ajinkya Rahane then had to settle for ones and twos, the latter in particular struggling during his stay in the middle as he hit just the sole boundary.
Tripathi brought up his half-century but perished trying to take on Ravichandran Ashwin. He went for a big shot but only found Mayank Agarwal at long-on.
Jofra Archer and Rahane departed soon thereafter, with KL Rahul and Mohammad Shami respectively taking good catches to put RR further in trouble.
Stuart Binny did give the away side some hope late in the match thanks to some lusty hitting but his 11-ball 33 was not enough to do the trick for the Royals, who slumped to their sixth overall loss.
Earlier, KXIP managed to put up 182/6 after being put in to bat by RR thanks to a half-century by Rahul and a useful 40 from David Miller.
Rahul (52) batted through most of the innings, starting the innings in slow fashion before accelerating towards the later stage of the innings.
Early in the innings it was Rahul’s opening partner Chris Gayle who looked to attack the bowlers during the powerplays, with Rahul content to take his time.
Gayle managed to hit 2 fours and 3 sixes during his stay at the crease but eventually edged one behind to Samson off Archer’s bowling.
Agarwal then came out and like Gayle, chose to go for the big shots as Rahul continued to look for just ones and twos.
Agarwal’s well-made 26 featured a boundary and 2 sixes before he was dismissed trying to take on Ish Sodhi but only giving Buttler a simple catch.
David Miller then joined Rahul out in the middle and the two proceeded to put on an 85-run stand for the 4th wicket that gave Punjab’s innings some much-needed impetus.
Rahul also began to find his rhythm, going after Jaydev Unadkat in particular. However it was the left arm seamer who had the last laugh when he dismissed Rahul in the 18th over.
Miller followed suit soon thereafter as did Nicholas Pooran and Mandeep Singh. This mini-collapse threatened to derail Punjab’s innings but was salvaged by skipper Ashwin scoring a 4-ball 17 towards the end.
First Published: April 17, 2019, 9:30 AM IST