An incredible display of power-hitting at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium between the Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals ended up going in favour of the team in pink and blue, as they pulled off the highest successful chase in the history of the Dream11 Indian Premier League.
Being asked to bat first, it took just nine balls for Mayank Agarwal to get his eye in, as he shuffled over to the leg side to smash Ankit Rajpoot over the infield for the first six of the evening. The 29-year-old followed that up with a four and a six off Jaydev Unadkat’s second over, to push the score to 28 after three overs.
Skipper KL Rahul also got into the act shortly after, scoring three consecutive boundaries on the off-side to welcome Jofra Archer. The KXIP openers continued to pummel the Rajasthan attack, getting 19 runs of the next two overs to finish with the highest powerplay score of IPL 2020.
Agarwal continued to take on the bowlers post the powerplay as well, welcoming Rahul Tewatia into the attack with two powerful sixes and a four. The Karnataka man got to his half century in the next over, with a six on the off-side, as KXIP’s openers put up a 100 run partnership by the end of the ninth over.
Rahul too got to his half century shortly after, getting a six and a four off Tom Curran’s second over to get to that mark of just 35 balls. On the other end, Agarwal showed no signs of slowing down as he got his seventh six of the innings- a powerful hit over covers. In the 15th over, Agarwal lifted one over covers to bring up his maiden century in the IPL, as KXIP kept the scoring rate at nearly 12 an over.
Tom Curran finally provided the breakthrough for Rajasthan Royals, as his low full toss was miscued by Mayank Agarwal on the leg side, and fell to the fielder. Agarwal departed after a sensational knock of 106, which included 10 fours and seven maximums.
The carnage continued from the batting side, as new man Glenn Maxwell got two fours off Ankit Rajpoot’s final over. Rajpoot however had the last laugh and he picked up the wicket of Rahul with the final ball of his spell. Nicholas Pooran came out to bat next, and almost immediately found his feet, getting a massive six of just his second ball.
The southpaw added two more sixes and a four, as Jofra Archer’s last over went for 18 runs, helping Kings XI Punjab finish with the highest team total for IPL 2020, ending the innings at 223/2.
The 18th over of the Rajasthan innings ended up being the turning point of the game, as Rahul Tewatia smoked Cottrell for five sixes to put his team in pole position.
Rajasthan started off brightly in their chase, as Steve Smith got three quick boundaries to push the score to 19 after two overs. His partner in crime Jos Buttler though couldn’t get going, as a sharp catch from Sarfaraz Khan ended his stay in the middle. New man Sanju Samson though started off strong, getting a six and a four of the first over he faced.
Steve Smith seemed to go hell for leather in the powerplay, as he added another four and a six to the scoreboard of Mohammed Shami’s second over to keep the asking rate under check. The Royals added 25 runs of the last two powerplay overs, to push the score to 69/1 after six.
The chasing side continued to keep the scoring rate in check post the powerplay as well, as Jimmy Neesham’s first over went for 14 runs. Murugan Ashwin’s first over was also targeted by Rajasthan, as Samson tried to hit him over mid wicket for a six, but an exceptional diving save from Pooran restricted that to just two runs.
Smith tried to up the ante yet again with a four of a ball pitched outside off-stump by Neesham, getting to his second fifty of IPL 2020. The Kiwi all-rounder however persisted with that off-stump line, and reaped the rewards as Smith miscued his shot and ended up being caught at third-man.
The wicket turned the complexion of the game, as that was followed up by two thrifty Glenn Maxwell overs, which went for just eight runs. Rajasthan’s lone warrior Sanju Samson kept playing his shots though from the other end, targeting Neesham’s last over to keep his team in the hunt.
The wicketkeeper-batsman then got three massive sixes off Maxwell’s final over, hogging the bulk of the strike as Rahul Tewatia at the other end was struggling to middle the ball. Mohammed Shami though ended Samson’s splendid innings in his comeback spell, as a slower bouncer found the outside edge and fell kindly to KL Rahul.
Tewatia, who struggled to find his form for most of his innings, all of a sudden found his mojo as he got five sixes off Sheldon Cottrell’s penultimate over, putting Rajasthan in pole position. Robin Uthappa fell in the next over, but his replacement Jofra Archer cranked up the volume with two consecutive sixes to reduce the equation to a run a ball.
Tewatia got another six in the over, to put Rajasthan in pole position out of nowhere. The southpaw however couldn’t finish things off as he was out of the last ball of the 19th over. With just two needed of the last over, Tom Curran sliced one over covers to give Rajasthan Royals a historic win on the day.
Kings XI Punjab play their next game in the IPL on Thursday against Mumbai Indians.