Kings XI Punjab snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as Rajasthan Royals lost their opening game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by 14 runs at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday. More than the victory, it was KXIP skipper R Ashwin ‘Mankading’ RR batsman Jos Buttler that highlighted the second innings of the game.
With Buttler (69) going great guns, it looked like Rajasthan would easily chase down KXIP’s total of 184. But sadly, it wasn’t too be as they lost wickets at regular intervals after the dismissal of Buttler. Even though Sanju Samson (30) and Steve Smith (20) looked like they had the game in control, Punjab had the last laugh.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab rode some power packed batting by Chris Gayle to post 184/4. If Gayle sizzled in the top half, Sarfaraz Khan finished the innings off with a huge six.
Gayle was off to a slow start, taking his time to get his eye in before changing gears to smash the opponent bowlers all around the park.
The West Indies star took just 47 balls to post 79 runs, hitting 8 boundaries and four sixes over the course of his whirlwind innings.
It needed a blinder of a catch by Rahul Tripathi off Ben Stokes’ bowling to finally stop the carnage.
Gayle’s departure slowed down the scoring rate before Sarfaraz Khan scored a quick fire unbeaten 46 off 20 balls lower down the order to ensure a strong finish to the Punjab innings.
Brief Scores: KXIP : 184/4 (Gayle 79; Ben Stokes 2/48); RR: 170/9 (Buttler 69; Mujeeb 2/31)