Indian Premier League 2020 | Royals’ batting collective eclipses ‘Gaylestorm’, snaps Kings’ streak
Rajasthan’s top five come good after the West Indian’s blistering 99 lifts Punjab to 185; Rahul’s men suffer first defeat in six games; both teams still in the reckoning.
The race for the playoffs remains wide open in IPL 2020. A magnificent chase by Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday ensured as much.
Steve Smith’s men won by seven wickets with 15 balls to spare. They now have 12 points, the same as KXIP and Kolkata Knight Riders.
It was a combined effort from the top-order that saw them through, as they reached the target of 186 with remarkable ease.
Chris Gayle’s 99 (63b, 6×4, 8×6) had given KXIP a competitive total after being put in, but contributions from Robin Uthappa (30), Ben Stokes (50, 26b, 6×4, 3×6), Sanju Samson (48, 25b, 4×4, 3×6), Smith (31 not out) and Jos Buttler (22 not out) took RR to a memorable victory.
It was perhaps as accomplished a chase as any seen in this tournament, with the RR batsmen making sure that they were ahead of the asking rate for much of the innings.
Setting the tone
The tone was set by Stokes, whose unbeaten hundred had given the team a badly needed win against Mumbai Indians in RR’s previous match. His fifty came off just 24 balls when he lofted England teammate Chris Jordan high over long-off. But after a dot ball, he found Deepak Hooda at mid-off, failing to generate enough power to clear him.
Uthappa, too, was shaping up well before he fell to M. Ashwin. After slog-sweeping the leg-spinner beautifully over deep mid-wicket for six, he attempted a similar shot only to be well caught near the boundary by Nicholas Pooran.
Samson looked in great touch, playing some delectable shots square off the wicket before he was needlessly run out — by a direct hit from substitute fielder J. Suchith.
Still the boss
Earlier, the 41-year-old Gayle showed he still remained the boss of the T20 universe with some astonishing hits. He may have fallen one short of a seventh IPL hundred — bowled off his pad by Jofra Archer — but he passed another amazing milestone; his seventh six of the innings was his 1000th in T20 cricket.
But this match will likely be remembered more for the manner in which RR responded in another must-win situation.
Gayle is the first batsman to hit 1000 sixes in T20s.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
K.L. Rahul c Tewatia b Stokes 46 (41b, 3×4, 2×6), Mandeep Singh c Stokes b Archer 0 (1b), Chris Gayle b Archer 99 (63b, 6×4, 8×6), Nicholas Pooran c Tewatia b Stokes 22 (10b, 3×6), Glenn Maxwell (not out) 6 (6b, 1×4), Deepak Hooda (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-1, w-8, nb-2): 11; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 185.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-1 (Mandeep, 0.6 overs), 2-121 (Rahul, 14.4), 3-162 (Pooran, 17.6), 4-184 (Gayle, 19.4).
Archer 4-0-26-2, Aaron 4-0-47-0, Tyagi 4-0-47-0, Shreyas 1-0-10-0, Stokes 4-0-32-2, Tewatia 3-0-22-0.