Coming off the back of a good bowling performance in the previous match, the Kings XI Punjab bowlers came in to the VIVO Indian Premier League match against Sunrisers Hyderabad with their tails up. Building on his success from a couple days back, Ankit Rajpoot was the star with the ball yet again, as he picked up the first fifer of the season.
After Ravichandran Ashwin elected to bowl first, it was Rajpoot who was entrusted with the job of opening the attack, and he did not disappoint. Bowling a bouncer off just the fourth ball of the over, Rajpoot caught Kane Williamson off-guard as he miscued one to go back for his first IPL duck. If that wasn’t all, Rajpoot went on to bowl two more overs in this opening spell and picked up a wicket each in both of them.
Shikhar Dhawan poked one to be caught at slip, and Wriddhiman Saha top edged one straight to Andrew Tye in the inner circle. Rajpoot would have claimed a fourth in his third over as well, but Tye failed to hold on to the ball hit to him by Manish Pandey. Subsequently, he left the SRH side struggling at 27/3 after 5 overs.
The Sunrisers batsmen never really managed to get going after this, and though Manish Pandey managed to get a half century, the impetus seemed to be lost early on. Rajpoot returned for his fourth over in the final over of the innings, getting two more wickets – those of Manish Pandey and Mohammad Nabi. Pandey could not negotiate with a perfect yorker angling in and lost his stumps, while Nabi got caught at long-off on the last ball of the innings.
Remember hearing Glenn McGrath say that he rates Ankit Rajpoot very highly. And from the matches that he has played, we know why. Gets bounce and has bowled superbly. SRH in trouble #SRHvKXIP— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) April 26, 2018
By the end of the innings, Ankit Rajpoot had now claimed his career best figures of 5/14, leaving SRH at 132/6. This also happened to be the first fifer of the season, with his economy of 3.50 the fourth best of the season, and best of the bowlers to bowl a full quota of four overs. Rajpoot also joins a list of elite bowlers, as this becomes the sixth best bowling figures in over 10 years of this star-studded league.
|Best bowling figures in IPL|
|Sohail Tanvir||6/14 (4 overs)||CSK vs RR (2008)|
|Adam Zampa||6/19 (4 overs)||SRH vs RPS (2016)|
|Anil Kumble||5/5 (3.1 overs)||RCB vs RR (2009)|
|Ishant Sharma||5/12 (3 overs)||DC vs KTK (2011)|
|Lasith Malinga||5/13 (3.4 overs)||DD vs MI (2011)|
|Ankit Rajpoot||5/14 (4 overs)||SRH vs KXIP (2018)|
If these records were not enough, Rajpoot also made history by becoming only the second KXIP bowler to pick five wickets in an innings after Dimitri Mascarenhas, and also picking up the best bowling figures by a KXIP bowler.
Not the result we would have liked, but happy with the first half of the tournament.5 out of 7 we will take it. Have a week’s break now. Congratulations @SunRisers on the victory & a great effort from young Ankit Rajpoot becoming the first Punjab bowler to take a 5-for #SRHvKXIP— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 26, 2018
In the end, Rajpoot still ended on the losing side despite his glorious effort, but still claimed the Man of the Match award.
Sometimes to Win the War You’ve Got to lose a battle ! Looking Forward, Moving on & Here is our silver lining 🏏👏 Wow @Ankit412rajpoot What a performance 👏 @lionsdenkxip #manofthmatch #Redforever #livepunjabiplaypunjabi pic.twitter.com/W7Up2bbep9— Preity zinta (@realpreityzinta) April 26, 2018
“I was getting help from the wicket, and I was bowling full. I planned and stuck to my plans and was aided by the pace that I found. It was my day today, so I picked five wickets,” he said in the post-match presentation ceremony.