Kings XI Punjab registered a win in their opening 2019 Indian Premier League match against the Rajasthan Royals by 14 runs at Jaipur on Monday (March 25) but the match was shrouded in a controversy, with Jos Buttler and R Ashwin right in the middle of it.
Chasing 185 to win, the Royals were cruising with Buttler and Steve Smith at the crease before Ashwin ran the former out for backing out of his crease before the ball was bowled, an act referred to as Mankading in cricketing circles.
The dismissal sparked a furious reaction from Buttler as well as the rest of the Royals camp but the decision stood. Rajasthan suffered a collapse thereafter, going from 110/2 in 13 overs to ending the innings at 170/9.
Sanju Samson and Smith were the batsmen at the crease after Buttler was dismissed but the two failed to score at the required rate and both perished soon enough, the latter going thanks largely to a spectacular catch from KL Rahul.
Ben Stokes too fell cheaply and with him gone, the asking rate was always going to be too big of an ask for the home side and so it proved.
The ill will from the dismissal carried over after the match, with Buttler refusing to shake Ashwin’s hand despite doing the same to every other member of the KXIP side.
Earlier after being put in to bat, KXIP rode on a half-century from Chris Gayle and a useful knock from Sarfraz Khan to post a competitive total of 184/4 in their 20 overs.
The bulk of the scoring was done by Gayle (79), who batted till the end of the 16th over to give his side every chance of getting a big total.
His opening partner Rahul was dismissed in the first over itself, edging a ball from Dhawal Kulkarni to Buttler behind the stumps.
Gayle was then joined by Mayank Agarwal, who played a useful knock of 22. He mostly looked to rotate the strike while taking on the occasional bad ball.
But it was Gayle who once again stole the show, especially towards the latter stages of the innings when he looked to free himself.
The self-appointed ‘Universe Boss’ has taken to playing out dot balls early in his innings in T20s over the past few years and that was what he did to begin with.
But no one was spared when he decided to lift the shackles and he ended his innings with 8 fours and 4 sixes.
He got out going for a big shot as well. He slammed a bouncer from Ben Stokes and it looked to be heading for a six but was caught by Rahul Tripathi on the boundary.
The departure of Gayle saw Sarfraz step up and the innings with a bit of a flourish and he finished with 46 off 29 balls.