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Sunday, June 07, 2020

Marsh’s astonishing 115 to Maxwell-Miller show: Overseas batsmen dominate Rajasthan vs Punjab matches

Australian batsman Shaun Marsh's highest score of 115 in the inaugural season is the lone century in Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals contests over the years

Written by Arun Rawal | Updated: April 30, 2020 8:12:58 am
Shaun Marsh 115, Ajinkya Rahane 98, Glenn maxwell 89, KL Rahul 95, David Miller fastest IPL fifty, Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals, Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab, RR vs KXIP, KXIP vs RR, cricket news Shaun Marsh, David Miller and Glenn Maxwell (Express Archive)

The 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was originally scheduled to kick off on March 29. The spread of the Covid-19 virus has resulted in an indefinite postponement with the possibility of it being cancelled. So we’re reliving some of the best clashes between the franchises and standout performances. Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) was set to be the blockbuster match of the day (April 29) as per the original schedule.

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Kings XI Punjab have suffered a massive slump after qualifying for the playoffs in the inaugural season. For the next five seasons, they fell short of the points needed to qualify for the last four. In 2014, under George Bailey, they qualified for the playoffs once again but could not make it through to the final.

Rajasthan Royals, led by legendary spinner Shane Warne, stunned everyone in the inaugural season by getting their hands on the trophy despite having a seemingly low-key squad but have also failed to reach such highs since then.

Head-to-head

The two franchises have been equally impressive against one another. Both teams have won this tie nine times. Barring the high-voltage super over match in IPL 2015, there has been a lack of close matches between these two sides.

A look at closely-fought contests and outstanding performances:

Marsh ends league stage on a high

Shaun Marsh had a dream IPL debut series opening the innings for KXIP. The relatively less known overseas recruit ended up being the highest run-scorer of the tournament with 616 runs from 11 innings at an astounding average of 68.44 including one century and five century.

In the last league game of the inaugural series of IPL, Punjab registered a comprehensive victory by 41 runs over Rajasthan as the Australian southpaw scored his maiden IPL century. The left-handed batsman scored 115 runs from 69 deliveries including 11 fours and seven sixes. Elegant drives and big shots down the ground were a regular in Marsh’s innings. Apart from his century, James Hopes scored his half-century. Yuvraj Singh too contributed with a whirlwind 16-ball 49 taking Rajasthan bowlers to cleaners in the death overs. Warne’s absence from the bowling attack was clearly visible in the contest.

In reply, Rajasthan failed to put up a fight. Opener Niraj Patel top-scored with a 57-run knock. Explosive middle-order batsman Yusuf Pathan tried to revive the run chase with his 15-ball 39 but it wasn’t enough to chase down a gigantic target of 221/3.

Rahane’s one-man show

Ajinkya Rahane got Rajasthan’s IPL 2012 campaign off to the best possible start. Rahane made KXIP skipper Adam Gilchrist regret his decision to bowl first in Jaipur. The Rajasthan opener carried the innings on his back, anchoring and accelerating at the same time. While experienced campaigners Rahul Dravid and Brad Hodge failed to capitalise on starts, Rahane helped his team post a big total. He scored 98 runs from 66 deliveries including 11 fours and one six. He got out in the last over missing his half-century.

KXIP’s run chase kept on hitting a roadblock. Caribbean all-rounder Kevon Cooper got three wickets in his first spell including opener Paul Valthaty, Shaun Marsh, and Abhishek Nayar. He came back into the attack and got the wicket of Piyush Chawla in the death overs. KXIP could manage to score 160/9 as they lost the match by a considerable margin of 31 runs. Rahane ended the tournament as his team’s highest run-scorer and fourth overall.

Maxwell-Miller special

After being put to bat first, Rajasthan posted a good total of 191/5 on the board at Sharjah thanks to skipper Shane Watson and Sanju Samson’s half-centuries and Steve Smith’s cameo in the death overs. Chasing a stiff target, KXIP lost opener Virender Sehwag and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha for single-digit scores in the powerplay overs.

Glenn Maxwell walked in to bat with the run chase in complete disarray. While Cheteshwar Pujara tried to knock the ball around for singles and anchor the run chase, Maxwell launched a brutal onslaught. He got out after scoring 89 runs from 45 deliveries in the 14th over with 65 runs to win from 37 deliveries.

David Miller walked in to bat but struggled to get away initially. In the 16th over, a six off Pravin Tambe got him the confidence. It was in the 18th over, Miller stepped on the gas and hit Dhawal Kulkarni for four huge sixes. From 37 runs needed off 18 deliveries, the Proteas batsman got the equation down to just 10 runs from 12 deliveries. He finished the run chase in style with a six off James Faulkner in the penultimate over and reaching his half-century in just 19 balls. Interestingly, Pujara remained not out for 40 runs from 38 deliveries.

The SUPER OVER

It was a match where Rajasthan team lost the plot in the final over of the match. In the run chase, KXIP needed 14 runs off the last over with James Faulkner bowling. Axar Patel held his nerves and managed to level the scores at 191. In the last over, Rajasthan fielders fumbled, Faulkner missed his line and length. Everything went wrong for Rajasthan from there onwards.

Bowling for Rajasthan, Chris Morris got super over off to a terrific start removing the in-form David Miller. But Morris faltered against Shaun Marsh by bowling an above-waist height no ball and then bowling a few loose deliveries. Rajasthan needed 16 runs to win the super over.

Virender Sehwag handed the ball to Mitchell Johnson to bowl the final over. Johnson fired a yorker with pin-point accuracy to dismiss Shane Watson. The left-arm pacer faltered too and bowled an above waist height no ball. But Falkner was having a bat day as he failed to connect the next ball and got run out trying to sneak a single via byes. KXIP won the super over by 10 runs choking Rajasthan at Ahmedabad.

No support for Rahul

It was a match where one batsman stood out from both the teams. Batting first, Jos Buttler scored a 58-ball 82 opening the innings for Rajasthan helping them post a respectable total of 158/8. Andrew Tye too four wickets in the innings including three in the death overs to push KXIP’s score back by 10-20 runs.

In the run chase, KXIP were stunned by Krishnappa Gowtham as he got the wickets of Chris Gayle and skipper Ravichandran Ashwin who promoted himself at No.3. Things got worse when England fast bowler Jofra Archer removed Karun Nair reducing KXIP to 3/19 in fourth over.

KL Rahul anchored the innings but kept running out of partners on the other end. Manoj Tiwary, Axar Patel, and Marcus Stoinis failed to make a mark as Rahul stood on the non-striker’s end. He tried to revive the run chase in the last two overs but it was already out of hand. As a result, Rahul carried his bat unbeaten on 95 from 70 deliveries as KXIP lost the match by 13 runs.

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