A tense and riveting contest at Mohali’s IS Bindra Stadium ended with the hosts Kings XI Punjab winning in the last over with KL Rahul taking his side over the line. An all-round clinical performance from the Shers was shaken up after a flurry of quick wickets, however their batsmen helped them get over the line with Rahul leading the charge with an unbeaten 71.
Bowling first, the Kings got off to a brilliant start against Sunrisers Hyderabad with captain Ravichandran Ashwin taking a splendid low catch to dismiss Englishman Jonny Bairstow in just the second over of the match. Building on that early momentum, the KXIP bowlers did well to restrict the visitors to just 27 runs at the end of the powerplay as they ran the visitors dry.
Despite their sluggish start, the Sunrisers batsmen continued their conservative approach, treading the ball into the gaps for singles and doubles even after the spinners came into the attack. The pressure from the home side’s bowlers was relentless; and ultimately resulted in the dismissal of Vijay Shankar in the 11th over with the score reading 61/2.
KL Rahul’s 71 not out was ultimately the difference between the two sides. He played with great poise and experience; and scored that crucial boundary in the last over which helped his team register a record seventh victory at home.
A few overs later, Ashwin stopped a hard, straight shot off his own bowling; and seeing the non-striker Mohammad Nabi out of his crease, instinctively ran him out just as the visitors were looking to up their pace.
Unha De Sher
David Warner was the star performer for the visitors, as he played the whole 20 overs of his team while scoring 70 runs on a day when most of his teammates struggled to get going.
Sunrisers finally switched gears with five overs to spare, getting 12 runs off Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s final over. They scored 31 runs off the subsequent three overs, with David Warner doing the bulk of the scoring as he ended with an unbeaten 70. Bowling the last over, Mohammed Shami dismissed Manish Pandey off the very first delivery but Deepak Hooda hit him for two fours and a six as the visitors set a target of 151 for Kings XI Punjab.
The Shers lost their charismatic opener Chris Gayle in just the fourth over of the game, as he miscued a shot off Rashid Khan’s bowling and ended up being caught at long on. However, the Karnataka duo of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal helped steady the ship, as they got to 38 runs at the end of the powerplay.
Without taking any untoward risks, both batsmen kept the scoreboard ticking, getting the occasional boundaries to stay in control of the chase. The pair then clobbered 17 runs off a Siddarth Kaul over to further bring down the required rate, now needing only 65 runs off the last nine overs.
The 11th over of the KXIP innings proved to be turning point as KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal scored 17 runs off that and got the run rate to just a tad over seven with nine wickets in hand handing the Kings a firm control over the proceedings.
In the final ball of the 12th over, Rahul perfectly bisected the gap between long on and mid-wicket as he went on to score his third fifty of the 2019 VIVO IPL season. A couple of overs later, the 25-year-old nudged one into the cover region to bring up the first ever 100 run partnership by a Kings XI Punjab pair against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The very next over, Agarwal flicked one onto the leg side to bring second half century of the season. However, Sandeep Sharma managed to dismiss both Agarwal and new man David Miller in the 18th over as the visitors were sniffing a comeback.
Those hopes were further augmented by a brilliant 19th over by Kaul as he gave away only five runs while picking up the wicket of Mandeep Singh, which meant that the hosts needed 11 off the last over. However, Sam Curran and Rahul made sure there wasn’t to be any last-minute sting in the tail; as Kings XI Punjab eked out a win with a ball to spare.