Kings XI Punjab climbed into the top half of the VIVO IPL 2019 standings after they defeated the visiting Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Monday night. After winning the toss and opting to field, KXIP executed their bowling plans exceedingly well and restricted the Sunrisers to 150-4. Later in the night, a classy 114-run partnership between KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal set up the hosts’ run-chase. There was a bit drama towards the end when KXIP lost three wickets for eight runs. KXIP needed 11 off the final over – which was bowled by Mohammad Nabi; Sam Curran and Rahul finished saw KXIP over the line with one ball to spare.
Courtesy the dew which had settled down, the pitch had turned batsmen friendly and allowed the Kings XI Punjab batsmen to play their strokes. Chris Gayle perished early, but Rahul and Mayank didn’t let the bowlers dictate terms. Mayank was the aggressor early on, but Rahul wasn’t to be left too far behind. The pair treated Rashid Khan with the respect he deserved, but took on the other bowlers; they added 50 runs in 40 deliveries, and brought up the century partnership 37 balls later.
There was a bit of drama in the final few overs when KXIP lost Mayank (55), David Miller and Mandeep Singh in quick succession. But Rahul kept his cool, picked up a boundary off Nabi when his team needed 6 from 3 balls, and then scampered for a brace next ball to take his team home. Rahul finished unbeaten on 71, while Curran contributed 5 crucial runs from the three balls he faced.
In the evening, the KXIP took advantage of the muggy conditions; their bowlers started strong – repeatedly bowling disciplined lines and lengths. Even the normally aggressive David Warner was made to work hard for his runs. The left-hander batted the entire twenty overs, made 70 from 62 balls, and guided his team to a modest 150-4.
The Sunrisers added 100 runs in the back half – 19 of those runs coming off the last seven balls of the innings.
For the hosts, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up a wicket each.
Standout batting performances
KL Rahul’s innings of 71* was a mixture of composure, class and aggression. The 26-year old batted cautiously early on but played several pleasing strokes thereafter. His innings contained fluent drives through the off-side and down the ground, aggressive pull shots and even a deft late cut off Nabi. The one standout stroke was the drive off the pads, which sent the ball wide of the fielder at mid-on. Despite opening the innings, Rahul was only 9 from 12 balls at the end of the powerplay; he then accelerated reaching his half-century 22 balls later. He then kept picking up the ones and twos, before collecting a crucial boundary in the very last over.
David Warner, despite being the aggressive batsman he is, put a price on his wicket, adapted to the conditions and worked hard for his runs – even if it made him look unattractive. The left-hander struggled to cope with the lack of pace on the surface and played out several dot deliveries early on; he crawled to 9 from 17 balls and hit only one boundary in the powerplay period. He brought up his half-century in the sixteenth over – getting there in 49 balls – his slowest ever in the IPL. Warner finished unbeaten on 70; his 62-ball knock contained 20 singles, 10 twos, 6 boundaries and a six.
Notable Support Act – Batting
It was Mayank Agarwal who initially stepped on the accelerator for KXIP. With opener Rahul still coming to grips with the conditions, Mayank began aggressively; the first delivery he faced, he hit Rashid Khan for a boundary straight down the ground. In the sixth over, he hit Nabi into the sightscreens and dealt the bowler similar punishment when he was deposited into the stands at midwicket. Mayank had raced to 22 from 16 balls, but when Rahul beginning to bat freely, he took his foot off the accelerator and focussed on rotating the strike.
Mayank brought up his half-century in the seventeenth over – getting there in 40 deliveries. He was dismissed in the next over when he attempted to hit Sandeep Sharma out of the ground, but found Vijay Shankar right on the ropes. His 43-ball 55 contained three boundaries and as many sixes.
Standout Bowling performance
Ankit Rajpoot was brought into KXIP’s XI for his knowledge of the conditions. He justified his selection by bowling a very tidy spell. The lanky pacer bowled two spells – three overs in the powerplay and one over in the death. Despite having to bowl to a right-left combo, he adapted well, conceding only 13 runs in his first three overs. He then conceded only 8 runs in his final over to finish with figures of 4-0-21-0.
The Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin (4-0-30-1) was impressive with the ball too. He brought himself on at the end of the powerplay and bowled his overs in two spells of three and one. In his third over, he picked up the wicket of a well-set Vijay Shankar; the batsman attempted to cut a carrom ball but only succeeded in edging the ball to the wicket-keeper. In his final over, he was instrumental indismissing Mohammad Nabi; in his follow through, he collected a straight drive from Warner with his right hand, turned around and swiftly ran out the non-striker.
Kings XI Punjab: 151-4 in 19.5 overs (KL Rahul 71*, Mayank Agarwal 55) defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad: 150-4 (David Warner 70*) by 6 wickets.
Stat of the Match
The 6-wicket win would be Kings XI Punjab’s seventh consecutive win in IPL matches at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
David Warner’s 71* would be seventh consecutive half-century in IPL matches against Kings XI Punjab.
Man of the Match:
KL Rahul, for his 53-ball 71*.