Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals have played 19 times so far in the VIVO Indian Premier League, with the head-to-head narrowly in favour of the Royals who have ten wins. Nevertheless, these two teams have played out several close, exciting games in the past, testament to that close head-to-head record.
Games between these two franchises in the north have often been high scoring affairs, but has given the IPL only one centurion in the past which came all the way back in 2008. Despite the lack of centurious though, games between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals have seen many match winning performances with bat and ball, which remain memorable to this day.
Here’s a look at the top three performances by KXIP players against Rajasthan Royals.
Rahul’s royal charge
Prior to this game in 2018, Kings XI Punjab had lost two matches on the trot and were looking to buck that trend against the 2008 IPL champions. A solid bowling performance led by Mujeeb ur Rahman meant that they needed just 155 to win. However, the chase got off to a rocky start as Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal were dismissed for single digit scores.
Very impressive run chase by Kings 11 Punjab. KL Rahul was 48 of 43 and just like what top batsmen do,was able to accelerate quickly and scored 36 of his next 11. The running between the wickets,the twos was a standout feature as well #KXIPvRR— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) May 6, 2018
KXIP’s other opener KL Rahul though held fort for the team, stitching a crucial 49 run partnership with Karun Nair. The 28-year-old cautiously attacked the opposition, picking the gaps to perfection. Despite losing wickets in regular succession on the other end, Rahul carried the bat as he scored an unbeaten 84 to help his team over the line. He hit seven fours and three sixes in that majestic innings, scoring more than 50% of the runs in a memorable win for Kings XI Punjab.
Pathan’s all-round show
Back in 2009, left arm seamer Irfan Pathan stole the show in a low scoring thriller between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. Batting first, KXIP were in a spot of bother with the score reading 48/4 after nine overs with Yuvraj Singh, Ravi Bopara and Mahela Jayawardene back in the hut. Irfan Pathan and Kumar Sangakkara however played the perfect rescue act for the Shers, adding 75 runs for the sixth wicket.
Pathan ended as the second highest scorer with 39 runs to help KXIP finish strong and give a challenging target of 140. To defend the meagre score however they needed a good start with the ball, and Pathan did just what the doctor ordered. He dismissed both Rajasthan's openers Greame Smith and Swapnil Asnodkar, putting the pressure on the batting side. Pathan ended with economical figures of 2/26 as KXIP managed a 27 run victory over the Royals.
Marsh’s majestic ton
In the opening season of the VIVO Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals were the most dominant side of the competition, losing just thrice in the tournament. One of those losses though came against a high flying Kings XI Punjab, where a majestic ton from Aussie opener Shaun Marsh lit up the Mohali night sky.
Batting first, KXIP were off to a flyer as James Hopes and Shaun Marsh put on 133 runs on the board for the opening wicket. Hopes’ wicket did not stem the flow of runs, as Marsh and Yuvraj helped add 88 runs in the last six overs. Marsh scored a scintillating ton in that game- the first century by a KXIP player in the IPL. He nearly stayed on the wicket for the entirety of the KXIP innings, being dismissed in the last over for 115 off just 69 balls. Marsh’s bullish ton however meant that his team managed to score 221 in that game- which remains till date the highest team score by KXIP against Rajasthan Royals; and helped them to a convincing 41 run victory.
Apart from these three meteoric performances, the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Piyush Chawla, Ravichandran Ashwin and many other KXIP players have been match winners for the franchise against Rajasthan Royals in the past.
What has been your most memorable KXIP performance against RR? Do let us know in the comments below…