After Sharjah’s first match yielded over 400 runs and 33 sixes, expectations were sky-high for the clash between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. The high standards were met after a sensational run-fest which scripted history following RR’s chase of 224, the highest successful chase in the history of the IPL.
Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to bowl first, the franchise welcomed back Jos Buttler into the side at the expense of David Miller. Young Yahshasvi Jaiswal missed out for pacer Ankit Rajpoot in the playing eleven.
The in-form opening pair of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal made batting look easy right from the first delivery. With a wide array of strokes, the duo romped to the highest powerplay score total of this edition so far.
Smith’s bowling changes failed to bring a breakthrough as the 100-run stand was brought up in only 8.4 overs. Skipper KL Rahul was reduced to the anchor with Mayank Agarwal punishing the bowlers all around the park.
Agarwal registered the second-fastest hundred by an Indian by only taking 45 deliveries to reach the landmark. The 183-run opening stand was finally breached by Tom Curran in the 17th over. While it seemed that the Royals had a grip in the death overs to restrict KXIP to a total around 210, a brisk cameo by Nicholas Pooran changed things around. The wicket-keeper batsman scored an unbeaten 25 off 8 deliveries to propel the side to a daunting total of 223-2.
RR win the encounter out of nowhere after Samson’s platform and Tewatia’s death over antics
The Royals were hit with an early blow following the dismissal of Jos Buttler. Much like their previous match against CSK, the onus was on Steve Smith and Sanju Samson to not put pressure on the middle order in pursuit of 224. Samson hit a monstrous six off the very first delivery and made his intentions clear.
The pair’s crucial 81-run stand was brought to an end right after Smith brought up his fifty. Rahul Tewatia came in at No.4 and struggled initially to get going. With the pressure on Samson following the exponential rise of the required rate, the batsman had to go for the shots, eventually perishing for a well-made 85.
KXIP had the game in their grasp with a struggling Tewatia at the crease and new batsman Uthappa at the other end. The leg-spinner could only muster 8 runs off his first 19 deliveries and was staring into defeat with the run-rate almost touching 16.
However, in an extraordinary turn of events, Tewatia hit five sixes in the 18th over off Sheldon Cottrell to drastically reduce the margin. While Tewatia couldn’t stay till the end for the winning runs, Jofra Archer’s twin sixes helped the cause despite a minor scare in the end en route the highest chase in the history of the IPL.
Kings XI Punjab 223-2 (M.Agarwal; A.Rajpoot 1-39)
Rajasthan Royals 226-6 (S.Samson 85; M.Shami 3-53)
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