The academics first: Kings XI Punjab registered their first-ever win in IPL matches played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. On Monday night, they defeated the hosts Rajasthan Royals by 14 runs.
The headline grabbing event though weren’t the knocks by Chris Gayle or Sarfaraz Khan which powered KXIP’s innings, but the controversial end to Jos Buttler’s innings. Buttler had scored a third consecutive half-century against KXIP and appeared to be in absolute control of proceedings when the KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin saw him backing up too far at the non-striker’s end and ran him out before loading up to bowl. The Royals needed 77 from 43 balls just before Buttler’s dismissal; but from that position, they lost the plot completely, losing eight wickets for 56 runs. In fact, closer to the finish, the Royals lost 7 wickets for 16 runs, eventually finishing at 170-9.
Earlier in the evening, a typical Chris Gayle innings and a cameo from Sarfaraz Khan, and their 84-run partnership helped Kings XI Punjab post 184-4 on what initially looked to be a two-paced surface.After Gayle was dismissed for 79 in the sixteenth over, Sarfaraz gave the innings the flourish at the end, scoring 20 off the last nine balls he faced. KXIP were 68-2 at the half-way mark, and added 116 in the back ten to finish with 184 – their highest total in IPL matches at Jaipur.
Standout batting performance
As has become a habit with him in the last few years, Gayle took his time to get going; but once he switched gears, the bowlers could do little to stop him. The Jamaican had crawled to 14 of 18 balls in the first seven overs; he broke the shackles at the start of the eighth over when he cut JaydevUnadkat and collected a boundary through thirdman. In the following over, he deposited the K Gowtham into the stands at wide long-on. In the twelfth over, he got stuck into Unadkat yet again, hitting the pacer for three consecutive boundaries and a six – the last of these strokes taking him to his half-century. The Royals bowlers made the error of repeatedly bowling either length or full, and the left-hander was happy to sit back and let his bat-swing do the damage. Gayle made 79, and his 47-ball knock was studded with 8 fours and 4 sixes.
For the Royals, Buttlerbatted beautifully – finding the gaps in the field with utmost ease. Opening the innings, he hit ten fours and two sixes in his 43-ball 69 – scoring the bulk of his runs down the ground. The only bowler Buttler respected on the night was Ashwin, off whom he scored 9 from 11 balls; against the rest, he scored 60 runs from 32 balls.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Sarfaraz Khan hadn’t scored a lot of runs in the last few months, but the youngster grabbed the opportunity presented to him. Sent to bat at number four, he batted with plenty of freedom and pulled off several unorthodox strokes – such as the scoop over the wicket-keeper. He made 46 from 29 balls and his innings contained six fours and a six.
Standout bowling performance
Even though he only bagged one wicket, R Ashwin was Kings XI Punjab’s stand out bowler; bowling a mixture of off-breaks and carrom balls, the KXIP skipper finished with figures of 4-0-20-1. Ashwin was the only bowler in the entire match to not concede a single boundary in a completed spell.
Jofra Archer was the Rajasthan Royals’s best bowler; he bowled consistent lengths, particularly to the right-handers, and ended with figures of 4-0-17-0. Archer’s top speed was logged at 148.8kph, and the overall average of his spell was 137.4 kph.
Notable Support Act – Bowling
Sam Curran’s first three overs in the IPL cost him 12, 19 and 17. But in his final over – the seventeenth over of the innings – he turned the match on its head by dismissing two well-set batsmen - Steve Smith and Sanju Samson. While he definitely bowled a wide off-cutter and got Smith reaching for the ball, much of the credit for that dismissal must go to KL Rahul, who took an outstanding catch running about fifty metres from long off. Curran finished with figures of 4-0-52-2.
Stat of the Match:
Chris Gayle completed 4000 IPL runs when he got to the score of 6; he became the fastest to the milestone – getting there in 112 innings.
Kings XI Punjab: 184-4 (Chris Gayle 79, Sarfaraz Khan 46*, Ben Stokes 2-48) beat Rajasthan Royals: 170-9 (Jos Buttler 69) by 14 runs.
Man of the Match:
Chris Gayle, for his 47-ball 79.