IPL 2018 – KXIP v RR: Rahul aces chase to end Kings XI’s losing run


MAY 6, 2018

Brief Scorecard: Kings XI Punjab 155 for 4 (Rahul 84*) beat Rajasthan Royals 152 for 9 (Buttler 51, Mujeeb 3-27) by six wickets

May 6, 2018: Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2018, Indore Rahul paced his innings perfectly, scoring 42 off his last 15 balls to finish unbeaten on 84. – BCCI

INDORE – Given the short dimensions of the Holkar Stadium, the plausibility of dew impacting spinners in the second innings and the favourable chasing trend, Kings XI Punjab had to just win two key phases in the game: the toss and their bowling display. Kings XI did both: R Ashwin chose to chase and the bowlers, led by Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Andrew Tye, stifled Rajasthan Royals to 152, a score well below par in Indore.

Although Rajasthan Royals put in a spirited bowling performance of their own, KL Rahul expertly switched gears to finish with a match-winning 84 off 54 balls to push Kings XI to third on the points table. Royals, with five losses in six games, retained their spot at the bottom of the points table.

A slow Powerplay

As an opener in the IPL, Buttler has an average of 30.80 and a strike rate of 167. At any other position, he has an average of 22.10 and a strike rate of 134.40. He also scored a 26-ball 67 against Delhi Daredevils opening in the previous game. Also, Royals’ average Powerplay score prior to this game, seventh in the IPL. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that Royals promoted Buttler to open.

Royals were desperate for a strong start, but D’Arcy Short and Ajinkya Rahane hadn’t quite found their fluency this season. In the first over, Short skewed a heave to mid-on. In the fourth over, Rahane top-edged a cut to short third man. At 35 for 2, with a fragile middle order, Royals were then forced to stabilize the innings, losing a crucial Powerplay battle against Kings XI’s spinners.

A stuttering middle …

Sanju Samson, batting at No. 4, and Buttler put Royals back on course with a 49-run partnership. Then, Royals lost another key duel: Samson was bounced out, Stokes was dismissed via a magnificent relay catch by Mayank Agarwal and Manoj Tiwary, Buttler nicked off to Mujeeb and, one ball later, Jofra Archer was bowled, beaten between bat and pad.

Overall, Royals managed just 65 runs in nine overs after the Powerplay. Royals entered the death overs – the final five of an innings – at 110 for 6. The lower order was scrapping for a score they could defend, which meant they lost another phase in the game.

… and a paltry end

Prior to this game, Royals scored an average of 10.10 runs an over in the end overs, equating to an average of 50.5 runs. At the Holkar Stadium, Royals needed plenty more than that. But they were bare of batting resources in that period.

All the lower order could do was scrap to 152, adding just 42 runs in the final five overs. Royals ended with 152, well below their own par and the average score at this ground of 188 – in T20Is and the IPL, since 2015. Royals lost all three phases in their innings, which meant the game was all but done.

Courtesy/Source: ESPNCricinfo