With skipper R Ashwin replacing M Ashwin and Andre Tye with Mujeeb Ur Rehman and Ankit Rajput, it meant all three Afghanistan players featuring in IPL were playing in the same match.
Rajput was up against the most successful opening pair this season in the form of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, but Mujeeb got the better of the Englishman in the second over. Ashwin would then introduce Mohammed Shami in the fourth over and with the India pacer clocking 145 KPH regularly, Warner and Vijay Shankar struggled to increase the run rate. Sunrisers faced 24 dot balls in the powerplay with only two boundaries in their score of 27 for 1, the lowest this season. It was a major turn-up for the books as prior to the match, KXIP had the worst powerplay record with a economy rate of 9.40. There were no boundaries in the next four overs, and the hosts restricted Sunrisers to 50/1 at the halfway stage.
With 67 per cent of the total runs scored by Sunrisers this season coming from the pair of Warner and Bairstow, it was a chance for Shankar to prove his worth but the all-rounder failed to read a carrom ball from Ashwin after hitting a boundary in the same over. Sunrisers had been bundled out for 96 in their previous match against Mumbai Indians, and Warner decided to stay till the end.
While the Aussie completed his half-century with a strike rate slightly better than 100, only five boundaries and one six came for the visitors during the 55-run partnership off 35 balls between Warner and Manish Pandey. Warner, who remained unbeaten on 70 off 62 balls, faced 24 dot balls. Deepak Hooda’s two boundaries and a six from three balls faced meant that Sunrisers posted 150, 100 of which came in the last 10 overs.
Rahul, Mayank stand firm
SRH skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened the bowling with Sandeep Sharma, a decision prompted by the fact that the latter had removed Chris Gayle four times out of eight innings in IPL. But it was Rashid Khan’s introduction that removed the big Jamaican. He went for a big hit off Khan’s first ball only to be caught by Deepak Hooda near the boundary in the fourth over.
But KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal began the rescue work for the hosts and at the end of the powerplay KXIP were 38/1, their lowest score this season.
But the two Karnataka mates made sure that the asking rate remained below 8.5 in the last 10 overs with Aggarwal being the more aggressive of the two. But Rahul reached his fifty off 34 balls with six boundaries and a six. Kings XI Punjab needed 40 runs off 30 balls and with Yusuf Pathan dropping a simple catch off Agarwal in the 16th over off Kumar’s bowling, Sunrisers’ hopes of a comeback seemed dashed.
Before being caught by Shankar off the bowling of Sharma in the 18th over, Agarwal had made 55 runs off 43 balls with three boundaries and three sixes. With the visitors needing 19 runs off 17 balls, Sharma removed David Miller in the same over with the equation coming to 16 off 12. Siddarth Kaul removed Mandeep Singh off the last ball of the penultimate over to make it 11 runs off six balls for the visitors.
Sam Curran scored five runs off the first three balls off the last over bowled by Nabi before Rahul hit his seventh boundary of the innings to make it two needed off two. A quick brace by Rahul, aided by a Warner fumble, sealed the deal for Kings XI Punjab, their seventh win at the PCA Stadium in the last 14 months.