- Kings XI Punjab lost a close match against Sunrisers Hyderabad by 13 runs.
- Ankit Rajpoot (5 for 14) finished with the best bowling figures of the league so far.
- Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle added another 50-run partnership to their names.
An extremely spirited bowling performance led by pacer Ankit Rajpoot was not enough as Kings XI Punjab lost to hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad by 13 runs in a hard fought match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday. Rajpoot finished with the best bowling figures in the current VIVO Indian Premier League season, picking up 5 wickets for 14. SCORECARD 🏏
Choosing to bowl first on a pitch where 8 of the last 10 matches have been won by the side batting first, Ravichandran Ashwin showed great confidence in his team and it paid off in the first half of the game as the Sunrisers were restricted to a mere 132 runs. Rajpoot single-handedly sent back 5 of the 6 batsmen dismissed and the opening pair of Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle made merry against the SRH bowlers. However, an excellent comeback by Hyderabad owing to their two spinners, Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan, saw them steal the victory in the end. PHOTOS 📷
Opening the bowling for KXIP, Rajpoot dismissed SRH captain and in-form player Kane Williamson for his first IPL duck and then went on to pick up Shikhar Dhawan and Wriddhiman Saha in a lethal opening spell of 3-0-9-3.
Ankit Rajpoot finished his 4-over spell with the best bowling figure by any player for KXIP so far. His 5 wickets included the top 4 batsmen in the SRH batting order.
A determined Manish Pandey rode his luck from there after being dropped thrice to score a fighting fifty for his team. He was eventually cleaned up by Rajpoot when he came to bowl his last over. Rajpoot eventually finished with a fifer, wrapping up the Sunrisers’ innings for 132/6. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the only other bowler to get any success with the ball as he sent Shakib Al Hasan packing.
Chasing a less than ideal total set by the Sunrisers, Kings XI got off to a good start as Rahul and Gayle made their way to another 50-run opening stand. They were taking on the bowling and it looked like they would finish things off easily for KXIP but SRH had a mystery spinner of their own who got them the breakthrough.
Sunrisers' Afghani spinner Rashid Khan, who had been hammered for his worst ever IPL figures in the previous time these two sides met, came in at a difficult time for SRH and brought them back into the game with his thrifty spell which also yielded 3 wickets.
Rashid Khan first picked up the wicket of Rahul with a peach of a delivery that just straightened enough after pitching, taking the off stump. From the other end, Basil Thampi hurried Gayle into a shot and took an easy catch off his own bowling.
Going all guns blazing once again, the KXIP openers might well have taken the game away from the Sunrisers but a beauty from Rashid Khan to dismiss Lokesh Rahul opened the floodgates for KXIP and they failed to come back from there.
The KXIP middle-order had been suspect on some occasions in the previous games and, after some initial resistance by Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair, crumbled to a disciplined SRH bowling attack. They were reduced from 55 for 1 to 88 for 5 within a span of 7 overs.
Khan proved almost impossible to slog on the day and was well supported by Shakib Al Hasan. The two spinners picked up 5 wickets between themselves, giving away just 37 runs in the 8 overs they bowled.
Having had the back of their batting order broken, Punjab tried slogging their way out of trouble but succumbed with 119 runs on the board to hand Sunrisers the victory.
Key Chalda Hai?
Kings XI Punjab are now sitting in the third slot in the VIVO IPL league table, just behind Sunrisers Hyderabad who lead them on Net Run Rate. They will now get a bit of a breather before taking on Mumbai Indians at their second home venue of the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Friday, 4th May.