Kings XI Punjab managed to make it a hattrick of opening match victories in the VIVO Indian Premier League, ending up on the winning side for the first time at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on Monday.
A brilliant knock by Chris Gayle coupled with a good showing by Sarfaraz Khan helped the visitors amass 184 runs after in their innings. In reply, the Rajasthan Royals fell short by 14 runs with Sam Curran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman picking up two wickets a piece at the death.
After losing the toss, KXIP were asked to bat first and lost opener KL Rahul in the very first over. However, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle helped steady the ship for the away team, as they cautiously paddled through the powerplay overs without losing any further wickets. The duo added 56 runs for the third wicket, before Agarwal fell to Krishnappa Gowtham in the ninth over.
Agarwal was replaced in the middle by 21-year-old Sarfaraz Khan, who started cautiously as the Universe Boss took matters into his own hands. Throwing caution to the wind, the southpaw changed gears in the 12th over, smashing Jaydev Unadkat for 19 runs which included three fours and a six.
Four overs later, Gayle took Ben Stokes to the cleaners, smashing him for a six off the very first ball, followed by three boundaries before being caught in the deep by Rahul Tripathi. The Caribbean batter smashed 79 off just 47 balls; going on to become the fastest to score 4000 runs in the VIVO Indian Premier League in the process in just 112 matches.
|Gayle’s 79 off 47 balls helped the Kings XI Punjab get to a commanding score of 184. The way he accelerated post the 12th over, scoring the last 50 runs off his knock in just 19 balls, which included a 19 and a 20-run over off Unadkat and Stokes respectively.|
Following the dismissal of Gayle, Sarfaraz took charge of the game, playing some unorthodox shots to good effect as he went to score his highest score in the competition. The youngster slammed a six off the last ball of the innings, ending the day at his IPL-best of 46 not out as the visitors posted a target of 185 runs.
Rajasthan Royals got off to a good start with openers Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane putting on a strong stand of 78 runs. Buttler in particular, was looking in sublime form, smashing Sam Curran for 19 runs in the final powerplay over as he went on to score his half-century after 29 balls.
However, captain Ravichandran Ashwin brought himself into the attack and managed to effect the breakthrough in just his second over with a beautifully disguised carrom ball that completely outfoxed Rahane. The RR captain’s wicket temporarily reduced the home side’s scoring rate, with the subsequent Ankit Rajpoot over going for only seven runs.
|Unha de Sher|
|Jos Buttler was the star player for the Royals, scoring a brilliant 69 off just 43 balls. After his dismissal though, the hosts never really got going and ultimately succumbed to a 14 run loss with the likes of Smith or Stokes unable to take control of the chase.|
A few overs later, Ashwin showed great presence of mind to get Buttler run out when the Englishman was caught outside his crease before the Kings XI man got into his bowling stride in what become a much-debated moment of the match.
|Buttler’s dismissal tilted the game towards the visitors as the Royals now needed 78 off the last seven overs with two relatively new batsmen at the crease. The Englishman was looking very strong and until his dismissal, the Royals were looking in control of the chase.|
Sanju Samson and Steve Smith looked like they might carry the home side through for a moment, however Englishman Curran bowled a peach of an over in the death to ensure the Shers got off to a winning start in their 2019 IPL campaign. Giving away only four runs, Curran picked up the wickets of both Samson and Smith; with the latter being courtesy of a spectacular diving catch by Rahul.
The next over was bowled by the Afghan Sher Mujeeb Ur Rahman who dismissed Ben Stokes and Tripathi while giving away only eight runs, practically ending the Royals' chase attempt. From 148/3 at one stage, the home side succumbed to 170/9 as Kings XI Punjab won their first ever game at the Sawai Mansingh stadium, registering a 14-run victory.