Rajasthan Royals (RR) snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as they secured a four-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab in the ninth match of IPL 2020.
After being put in to bat, Kings XI Punjab were off to a flier courtesy KL Rahul, and Mayank Agarwal, who went after the RR bowlers right from the word go. The two Karnataka batsmen stitched together a 183-run partnership, smashing numerous records along the way.
Absolute carnage was on display as Agarwal scored his first century in the IPL. He clobbered the bowlers all around the park en route his brilliant knock of 106 runs in just 50 deliveries.
KL Rahul, who came into this match off a scintillating knock in the last game, had to play second fiddle to his opening partner and did so wonderfully while collecting a half-century himself. After Agarwal chipped one straight into the hands of deep mid-wicket off Tom Curran, Rahul tried to accelerate but was sent packing by Ankit Rajpoot for a well-made 69(54).
An unbeaten 8-ball 25-run cameo from Nicholas Pooran saw the Punjab outfit post a total of 223/2 on the board. A rough day out for the bowlers saw them being taken to the cleaners by the KXIP batsmen. Ankit Rajpoot and Tom Curran were the only ones who were able to chip in with a wicket each, while the former was the lone bowler with an economy below 10.
Chasing 224 for victory, RR were off to a shaky start, losing the dangerous Jos Buttler for a paltry 4 off 7 balls. Skipper Steve Smith joined hands with Sanju Samson as they put up an 81-run partnership in quick time. Smith reached the half-century mark but departed the very next ball he faced, slicing one straight down the throat of the deep point fielder.
Sanju Samson continued attacking the bowlers and racked up a mammoth 85(42). The decision to send in Rahul Tewatia seemed controversial at first, as he was unable to put the ball away and was playing at a strike rate of just 66 which put pressure on Samson and caused him to play a false shot, sending him back to the pavilion.
KXIP were well and truly on top here, with RR needing 51 runs off the last three overs. What followed was arguable one of the best turnarounds in the history of the IPL as Tewatia held his nerve and pounced on Sheldon Cottrell, whacking him for five huge maximums in the over and bringing the equation down to 21 off 12 deliveries. Uthappa scored 9 runs off the 4 balls he faced. He was replaced in the middle by Jofra Archer, who smoked two consecutive sixes off the first two deliveries he faced.
Tewatia was dismissed for 53(31), which included seven huge maximums, as he tried to finish the match in style. With two needed off the last over, the game seemed to take an unexpected twist yet again with Riyan Parag blocking the first ball and being bowled off the second. However, Tom Curran came in and smacked a boundary off the third delivery to see RR across the line.
Mohammed Shami was the pick of the bowlers, snaring three wickets while Murugan Ashwin, James Neesham and Sheldon Cottrell chipped in with a wicket each. However, they will rue the missed opportunity to seal this game and collect two valuable points for their team.
IPL 2020 Updated Points Table
With this win over Kings XI Punjab, the Rajasthan Royals move up to second position while KXIP and Mumbai Indians drop down a spot each, and now stand third and fourth respectively.
The bottom half of the points table has not been affected by the result of this game, but we can expect a shake-up tomorrow as Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore will lock horns with Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians at Dubai. Both the teams will be looking to grab another win in this tournament and will be raring to go out on the field and put up a good show.Published 28 Sep 2020, 00:29 IST