So, Rajasthan Royals kept their chances alive with a seven-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab in their IPL 2020 clash in Abu Dhabi on Friday. From a Chris Gayle storm to Ben Stokes charge, the game had plenty of entertainment.
Here’s a wrap.
The points table scenario, first
RR stayed alive with the win, but KXIP are not out too. Both have to win their last match, against KKR and CSK respectively, on Sunday. And they have to win by big margins and hope their net run-rate will give them one slot in the top 4. It’s tough, but not impossible.
The Gayle storm
Mandeep Singh fell in the very first over to a terrific short one from Jofra Archer, but that paved way for a Gayle storm. The T20 universe boss did what he does best – stand and smash. He hit 8 sixes, taking his T20 six tally beyond 1000. Imagine that! More than 6000 runs just in sixes. Wow!
He hit fewer fours (6) than sixes on Friday, which said it all. He added 121 for the second wicket with KL Rahul, setting the base for a big finish. Gayle looked set for his 23rd T20 ton but Jofra Archer bowled a yorker to get him in the last over.
A furious Gayle flung his bat, which slipped out of his hand. He composed himself soon enough though to shake Archer’s hand as he walked off. Later, he said he was going to consider the knock as a century in his mind. It was worth a ton indeed, although it didn’t come in a winning cause.
Rahul too slow?
46 off 41 at a strike rate around 112. In a match where batsmen toyed around, was Rahul’s knock a bit too slow? The KXIP captain batted till the 15th over, after which Nicholas Pooran made a cameo to lift the score along with Gayle.
When asked if 185 was enough, Rahul said the wicket was sticky in the first half and dew made it easier for batting in the second. Earlier in the tournament, Rahul’s strike rate had come under the scanner but he had called it ‘overrated’.
A royal batting effort, led by Stokes
Fresh from a century against Mumbai Indians, and Stokes was once again in the mood. There were questions over his batting position, but he showed what damage he can inflict at the top of the order slamming 50 off just 26 balls before Chris Jordan stopped him. When he went, RR were 60 for 1 in 5.3 overs – the chase done and dusted there.
Every batsman contributed – Robin Uthappa, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith and Jos Buttler. All of them played their part to make the chase seem so simple. With two wrist spinners struggling in dew, KXIP were thrashed out of the game in just 17.3 overs.
Just the kind of chase RR needed, keeping in mind NRR.