KL Rahul's fine form continued but his 95* off 70 balls went in vain as Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by 15-runs in a must-win game at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on Tuesday (May 8). With this win, Royals found themselves on sitting 6th spot in points table.
Royals Ride on Jos Buttler's third consecutive fifty-plus score and set a target of 159 for KXIP. Rahul was the lone warrior in runs chase but his effort didn't prove enough to get his team through to the line.
Jos Buttler- Better late than never
It was out of thinking to send Buttler middle in the batting order in first seven matches as it was not helping RR at all. However, they soon realized their mistake and promoted him up as a opener. And since then he has scored 67, 51, and 82 in last three matches.
In this match, he led Royals to just about par score with 82 off 58 balls. He was the one who took full advantage of powerplay. In first six overs, RR scored 63 runs for the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Karishanppa Gowtham. After that he put on a 53-run stand off 48 balls with Sanju Samson, who made 22 off 18 balls and was the second highest scorer for Royals. Buttler was dropped on 79 by Akshdeep Nath but he couldn't capitalize that drop and got stumped out to Mujeeb Ur Rahaman three runs later. However, None of the other batsmen could able to play big innings and resulted RR restricted to 158 for 8 after 20 overs.
Had KXIP chance to win this match
After restricted RR to 158, and looking at KXIP's batting, it was definitely a target that should be chased down. But it's became difficult after KXIP lost three wickets on just 19. They couldn't recover from this and kept losing wickets further. It was also getting difficult for Rahul to play his shots freely. None of the other batsmen could reach double-figure score despite Marcus Stoinis (11), and that resulted, they couldn't build any big partnership and fell short 15 runs in the end.
Not a day of experiments
It was the day when both the teams did experiments in their batting order. First, it was Rajasthan Royals who promoted Gowtham at no. 3 to take advantage of powerplay. However, he celebrated his promotion with a six but soon after he fell to Marcus Stoinis in trying to hit another. On the other hand, Kings XI Punjab too did a experiment after skipper Ravichandran Ashwin promoted himself at no. 3 to give some sort of stability in their batting order. But it didn't work for them as he got out the only second ball he faced to Gowtham.
How good were Ish Sodhi and Gowtham with ball
This was a pitch that offered a lot to spinners and Sodhi and Gowtham took full advantage of the slowness of the pitch. First off all, Gowtham sent back dangerous Chris Gayle, who got stumped by Buttler. Gayle tried to use his feet but Gowtham fired down the leg-side where Buttler did not make any mistake. Two balls later, Gowtham got Ashwin by bowled him out. He bowled three overs and gave away only 12 runs for 2 wickets. On the other hand, Sodhi was tight with his line and length and didn't give any chance to Punjab to open their arm. And that paid him off of Akshdeep Nath's wicket. He finished his spell impressive figures of 4-0-14-1.
For KXIP, it were Andrew Tye and Mujeeb, who bowled decently. Tye took 4 wickets for 34 runs in his 4 overs of spell. On the other hand, Mujeeb was the was the most economical bowler for Punjab as he conceded only 21 runs in 4 overs and grabbed two wickets.
Jos Buttler awarded Man Of The Match for his match-winning knock. While KL Rahul received Orange Cap(leading run-getter) and Andrew Tye got Purple Cap(leading wicket-taker).