Kings XI Punjab climbed back into the top half of the VIVO IPL 2019 standings after they defeated the Rajasthan Royals by 12 runs at the IS Bindra Stadium on Tuesday night. After being put in to bat, KXIP recovered from a very slow start to post 182-6. Then in the second half, their spinners strangled the visitors in the middle overs; the Royals could only get as far as 170-7.
In the evening, it was an unusual start from KXIP. While it was business as usual for Chris Gayle, who hit three sixes and two boundaries in his 22-ball 30, KL Rahul batted on first gear for a long time – as if constructing an innings. The hosts didn’t feel the pressure of Rahul’s slow start, thanks also to Mayank Agarwal’s cameo (26 from 12 balls).
It was a little after Agarwal’s dismissal in the ninth over that Rahul eventually switched gears. He and David Miller, who was summoned into the playing XI after a last-minute injury to Moises Henriques, added 85 runs in 8.3 overs. After they were dismissed, the KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin provided the innings the flourish in the last over.
KXIP had only scored 39 runs in the powerplay, added 97 runs in the middle nine overs, and added 46 more runs in the final five overs.
For the Rajasthan Royals, Jofra Archer (3 for 15) was the pick of the bowlers, while Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat and Ish Sodhi chipped in with a wicket each.
In their chase, the Royals too had several of their batsmen get off to starts, but not one of them made the runs quick-enough early on, and not one of them batted long enough to carry the team over the line. Possibly because of the steep required rate, the Royals changed their opening pair and sent Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi at the top of the innings. The former struck a boundary and two sixes in his 23 before he was dismissed at the start of the fifth over. Tripathi batted on till the 16th over, but he couldn’t switch gears; he was dismissed immediately after he’d brought up his half-century. Sanju Samson (27 from 21 balls) and Ajinkya Rahane (26 from 21 balls) made useful scores in the middle-order, while Stuart Binny’s cameo – 31* from 11 balls – gave the Royals late hope. Though the Royals were 12 runs ahead of KXIP at the 13-overs mark, they still finished short.
Standout batting performance
It was an odd innings from KL Rahul; the KXIP opener was 17 from 27 balls after eleven overs. He broke the shackles in the twelfth over when he gave himself some room and hit the ball over the fielder at mid-off. He brought up his half-century in the seventeenth over, needing 45 balls to get to the milestone. Rahul’s innings of 52 (47 balls) contained three boundaries and two sixes; the square drive six off Jaydev Unadkat in the fifteenth over would have to be the standout stroke in his innings.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Mayank Agarwal’s 12-ball 26, at a time when KL Rahul was struggling to get the ball off the square, and Ravichandran Ashwin’s final-over assault were the noteworthy support performances for KXIP. Agarwal mixed being busy with aggression; he hit a boundary and two sweet sixes straight down the ground, and dominated the 29-run partnership with Rahul. The only dot ball in Agarwal’s innings was the delivery he was dismissed off.
Ashwin walked out to bat at the start of the final over when KXIP’s score read 164-5. After Miller was dismissed off the first ball, Ashwin scored a boundary second ball and collected sixes of the final two balls of the innings. His 17 from 4 balls turned out to be an extremely crucial contribution in the final analysis.
Standout bowling performance
Ravichandran Ashwin followed up his cameo with the bat with an exceptional spell of spin bowling; he was accurate in terms of where he landed the ball, and used the mixture of off-breaks and carrom balls to control the middle overs. The KXIP skipper came into the attack when the Rajasthan Royals were 63-1 after seven overs, and immediately tightened the screws; he bowled his four overs without conceding a boundary and finished with figures of 2 for 24. The carrom ball yielded him both his wickets; first Sanju Samson – who attempted a heave – was clean bowled, and then Rahul Tripathi attempted to hit out of the ground, but the ball turned away, made contact with the outer half of the bat and carried to long-off.
Jofra Archer bowled smartly, often softening the batsmen with the quick deliveries, and then using the slower deliveries to pick up wickets. On one occasion the speed gun registered a delivery at 151.6kph. He set up Gayle with a string of pacy deliveries, and eventually dismissed him with a back of a length delivery on which he had rolled his fingers over. The wicket of Nicholas Pooran was the outcome of a quick low full-toss which the batsman couldn’t get under, and the final wicket of Mandeep Singh was the result of the batsman dragging a 111.6kph delivery onto the stumps.
Though Archer’s final analysis read 4-0-15-3, he should have had better figures than that. On one instance, he bowled David Miller – with a delivery that was ruled No Ball by the Umpire; the ball broke the stumps and rolled away to fine-leg, giving the batsmen enough time to scamper for three runs.
Notable Support Act – Bowling
The other Ashwin in the KXIP line-up too had a good outing; Murugan picked up the wicket of Ashton Turner and finished with figures of 1 for 24. On a surface that gave the spinners a little bit of purchase, he mixed up his pace and variations to good effect; he conceded only one boundary in his entre spell.
Kings XI Punjab: 182-6 (KL Rahul 52, David Miller 40, Jofra Archer 3-15) defeated
Rajasthan Royals: 170-7 (Rahul Tripathi 50, Stuart Binny 31*, R Ashwin 2-24, Arshdeep Singh 2-43)
Stat of the Match
Kings XI Punjab’s 182-6 would the highest total in VIVO IPL 2019 matches at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
Man of the Match:
Ravichandran Ashwin, for his 17* of 4 balls and 2 for 24.