Admit it, when the fixtures were announced you were searching all the matches involving Kings XI Punjab. We all were. Chris Gayle is close to calling it a day and we all wanted to see another Gayle-storm. As KXIP engaged with Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur, Gayle delivered. Eventually, Kings XI Punjab beat Rajasthan Royals by 14 runs in a match that will be talked about for some time. Royals won the toss and elected to bowl first. Punjab started their innings slow, losing KL Rahul early. Mayank Agarwal too didn’t last long. After Sarfaraz Khan’s (46) entry, things changed as Gayle took matters to his own hand.
Ending his innings with 8 fours and 4 sixes, Gayle (79) spearheaded the Punjab attack while Khan provided support. After Gayle’s departure off Ben Stokes, Khan continued his hard-hitting. Nicholas Pooran (12) provided him with brief support before Stokes bagged him. As for the Punjab bowlers, Stokes was hammered for 48 runs but managed to claim two wickets. Jaydev Unadkat was similarly punished, giving away 44 runs and taking no wickets. Dhawal Kulkarni and Krishnappa Gowtham picked up a wicket apiece. KXIP ended their innings with 184/4.
Heading out to bat, Rajasthan Royals started strong with skipper Ajinkya Rahane (27) and Jos Buttler. After Rahane’s departure, Sanju Samson and Steve Smith led the show with some great hits. Jos Buttler was exceptional with his batting and was pulling the game away from Punjab. However, a controversial move by Punjab's skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, had Buttler dismissed at 69. To put it simply, Buttler was Mankaded - it is a mode of dismissal that is often frowned upon as it is considered to be against the spirit of the game.
Buttler’s dismissal turned out to be a major talking point of the match. The law states: “If the non-striker is out of his ground from the moment the ball comes into play, to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him out.” The jury is still out over his dismissal as everyone is debating over the ethical aspect of it.
Post Buttler’s ‘Mankad-ing’, there was no stable resistance from the middle or lower order as Royals crumbled. Sam Curran was expensive for Kings XI, giving away 52 in 4 overs, but picking up Samson and Smith. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Ankit Rajpoot fared better, giving away 31 and picking up two each. Rajpoot bowled his last over brilliantly, choking Rajasthan and also picking the wickets. Ashwin picked up one wicket. The Royals ended with 170/9 in 20 overs.
The points table as it is: Delhi Capitals are on top, followed by Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders with two points apiece. DC leads the pack because of a better net run rate. In the fifth position is Sunrisers Hyderabad, followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians – all with no points.