Coming off the back of two consecutive defeats against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, KXIP needed to get back to winning ways in order to continue their charge for a place in the qualifiers. And the team delivered, led by an inspired bowling performance by 17-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman who was credited with the man of the match award for his three wickets.
After winning the toss, Kings XI elected to bowl first at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. Captain Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed D'Arcy Short in the first over itself and Axar Patel dismissed Ajinkya Rahane too in single figures. Sanju Samson and opener Jos Butler built a good partnership then, with the Englishman scoring at will and threatening to score big. Andrew Tye dismissed Samson for 28 but Ben Stokes continued the Rajasthan onslaught until KXIP's mystery man Mujeeb Ur Rahman came in for his second spell.
The teenager bowled well in his first spell, giving away only 14 runs in his two overs but was unable to pick up any wickets. He made amends for that later on, by dismissing the dangerous Stokes who was looking well settled at the crease having scored 12 off nine deliveries. In his next over, Mujeeb got the prized wicket of top scorer Jos Butler as well as the explosive Jofra Archer of the very next ball.
From 100/3 in 12.4 overs, the Royals fell to 106/6 in a space of 14 balls. The mystery spinner ended the game with figures of 3/27 in his quota of four overs; and helped reduce Rajasthan's score to 152.
Getting better and better with each game, @Mujeeb_Zadran 😄#LivePunjabiPlayPunjabi #KXIPvRR pic.twitter.com/eBY8RQ68h6— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) May 6, 2018
In reply, KXIP's Lokesh Rahul was in sublime form, scoring an unbeaten 84 and was well supported by Karun Nair and Marcus Stoinis who scored 31 and 23 respectively. The Kings made light work of the chase, achieving the target with an over to spare.
This victory over Rajasthan Royals ensured KXIP got back to winning ways and remained alive in their quest for a qualifier berth. Mujeeb's magical spell was the catalyst for KXIP's turnaround after two successive losses.