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Scorecard | As it happened
Rahul and Marcus Stoinis (23 not out) added an unconquered 68 runs in 5.5 overs as Kings XI chased down the 153-run target with eight balls to spare. Royals suffered their sixth defeats in nine games and remained stuck at the bottom of the points table.
IPL 2018 Points Table
Needed 43 off four overs, Rahul smacked three sixes and two fours to complete the chase in next 2.4 overs. Rahul’s unbeaten match-winning 54-ball knock was studded with three maximums and seven fours, while Stoinis hit a six and two fours in his 16-ball innings.
King XI though hit a roadblock early in their run chase as they lost Chris Gayle (8) and Mayank Agarwal (2) inside five overs. Jofra Archer provided the big breakthrough for Royals when he scalped Gayle in the fourth over, and Ben Stokes reduced the hosts to 29/2 in 4.4 overs by dismissing Agarwal cheaply.
KL Rahul and Karun Nair revived the run chase by adding 50 runs for the third wicket in 6.1 overs. They rotated the strikes regularly and hit boundaries whenever they got the opportunities as Kings XI reached 68/2 at the halfway mark.
Anureet Singh, who was making his debut for Royals, was hit for a maximum by Nair in the 11th over, but two balls later the batsman dragged one to the stumps to give the pacer his first wicket of the season. Nair scored 31 off 23 balls with the help of couple of sixes and as many fours.
Kings XI were at 87/4 after 13 overs, needing 66 off seven overs, when Krishnappa Gowtham got rid of Axar Patel.
Stoinis and Rahul led the Kings XI chase with some smart batting. Rahul changed gears in the 17th over as he smacked a six over third man off Archer to complete his fifty in 44 balls and scored 16 runs in it. Rahul then clobbered Unadkat, who conceded just 11 runs in three overs by then, for a six and a four in consecutive balls to change the equation to 12 off 12 balls.
Earlier, young off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman led an impressive bowling display from Kings XI to restrict struggling Royals to a modest 152/9.
Mujeeb (3/27) struck in the first two deliveries of the 15th over, first removing dangerous-looking Jos Buttler and then Jofra Archer to stand in with a chance of registering a hat-trick. But it didn’t come as he bowled a wide delivery in the next ball.
However, Mujeeb’s exploits were enough to keep Rajasthan in check as Kings XI kept on losing wickets at regular intervals from the start after being sent into bat.
Besides Mujeeb, Andrew Tye (2/24), Axar Patel (1/21), skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (1/30) and Ankit Rajpoot (1/37) were the other wicket-takers for Kings XI.
Opening the batting, Buttler scored 51 off 39 balls with the help of seven boundaries to anchor Rajasthan innings but just when it was time for him to accelerate he nicked a Mujeeb delivery to KL Rahul behind the stumps. To make matters worse for Rajasthan, Mujeeb cleaned up new man Archer with a googly in the next delivery.
Mujeeb also accounted for dangerous Ben Stokes (12) who was brilliantly caught by a joint effort from Mayank Aggarwal and Manoj Tiwary at the long-off boundary.
Rajasthan did not have a great start as they lost opener D’Arcy Short (2) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (5) early before Buttler and Sanju Samson (28) stitched 49 runs for the third wicket to stabilise the innings.
Towards the end, Shreyas Gopal played a 16-ball 24-run cameo to take Rajasthan over 150-run mark.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 155/4 in 18.4 overs (KL Rahul 84*; Krishnappa Gowtham 1/18) beat Rajasthan Royals 152/9 (Jos Buttler 51; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3/27) by six wickets