KL Rahul led Kings XI Punjab to their fourth win of the season by playing through the innings and helping them chase down a target of 151. It helps them remain unbeaten at home at took them to third on the league table. On a sluggish pitch, Rahul shared a 114-run stand with Mayank Agarwal after Chris Gayle was dismissed early by Rashid Khan. But SRH fought their way back after dismissing Agarwal and that made for a dramatic finish in which Rahul hit a four and ran two to take KXIP over the line with a ball to spare.
Toss: Kings XI Punjab won the toss and elected to bowl first
First innings: David Warner struck his fourth fifth of the season before Deepak Hooda played a cameo in the final over to lift Sunrisers Hyderabad to a challenging 150 for four against Kings XI Punjab in an IPL match here Monday. Opening the batting, Warner carried on his bat for an uncharacteristic 70 not out off 62 balls to anchor Sunrisers’ sluggish innings but it was Hooda’s unbeaten 14 off three deliveries that provided the late thrust to the visitors’ innings.
Warner struck six boundaries and one six during his knock, but it was Hooda who stole the limelight, smashing Mohammed Shami for two fours and one hit over the fence to pick up vital 15 runs off the last over. Sunrisers suffered an early blow in the form of Jonny Bairstow (1) after being sent into bat.
Bairstow failed to control a flick off Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s (1/34) bowling as Kings XI skipper Ravichandran Ashwin took a smart catch at short midwicket in the second over. The early dismissal, together with some disciplined bowling from Kings XI, made life difficult for Sunrisers batsmen as Warner and new man in Vijay Shankar (26) found the going tough.The duo failed to strike big and stitched 49 runs for the second wicket off 57 balls to stabilise the Sunrisers innings. But just when it was time to cut loose after a slow start, Shankar edged a Ashwin (1/30) delivery to K L Rahul behind the stumps as Sunrisers slumped to 56 for two after 10.4 overs.
Promoted up the order, Mohammad Nabi (12) fell victim to an unfortunate run out after adding just 24 runs with Warner. Warner was not his elements Monday as he struggled to his fifty off 49 balls with the help of four boundaries and one six. Warner and Manish Pandey (19) then added 55 runs for the fourth wicket to take Sunrisers forward before Hooda finished off the innings in style to give Sunrisers’ bowlers a total to defend.
Second innings: Gayle was dismissed in the third over of the match but Rahul and Agarwal kept away the SRH bowlers while keeping the scoreboard ticking. Both players scored half-centuries and rarely gave SRH any sighters. The ease with which they worked the field and the scoreboard made it look like KXIP would walk away with this one.
SRH’s fightback came in the death overs with Sandeep Sharma and Siddharth Kaul, both of whom are from Punjab and are familiar with the Mohali pitch, took the wickets of Agarwal, David Miller, Mandeep Singh. This left KXIP with 11 needed off the last over. Mohammad Nabi was the bowler and Sam Curran was on strike. He took five runs off the first three balls and Rahul was left to chase 6 off the rest. He hit the fourth ball over the bowler’s head for four. The last two runs came when David Warner uncharacteristically fumbled at long-on and the batsmen ran two runs. Rahul remained unbeaten on 71.
Gamechanger: KXIP were the better team for a better part of the game but the period when that dominance was obvious was during Rahul and Agarwal’s 114-run stand. They were facing the best bowling attack in the league on a difficult pitch but they played mostly chanceless innings to push their team closer to the target.
Captains speak –
Ashwin: Too close for comfort, to be brutally honest. The biggest positive for me is there is scope for improvement and there is enough capability in the dressing room to do that. I think we bowled extremely well to Warner, Ankit was splendid, Sam was brilliant. [On seven-match winning streak at home] I would love it be 11 in a row. It’s very important on this ground to bowl spinners with the new ball and Mujeeb has always done it for Afghanistan.
Bhuvneshwar: The way we bowled I am pretty happy given the dew. Still there are areas in our bowling we can improve. We were 20 runs short but what we all did believe in ourselves.