Put in to bat first, Rajasthan Royals posted a par score of 162 for seven on the board after losing a couple of wickets early, thanks to an amazing display of colossal hitting by James Faulkner who’s proven time and again to be a reliable finisher . The Australian all-rounder slammed 46 off 33 balls and shared a valuable sixth wicket partnership of 51 with Deepak Hooda (30) to bail the Royals out of trouble.
Rajasthan Royals had lost 3 wickets inside the first six overs with the scoreboard reading just 35. Medium fast bowler Anureet Singh had Ajinkya Rahane in the second over of the match for a duck and then in the next over, Sandeep Sharma trapped Sanju Samson (5) leg before wicket to leave RR 14 for two. And just when Rajasthan were looking to build a partnership, spinner Axar Patel struck in sixth over to dismiss Karun Nair (8).
Stand-in captain Steven Smith then held the innings together and played some prolific shots. The right-hander stitched a 39-run stand with Stuart Binny to bring some stability to the RR innings. Mitchell Johnson, then struck twice in 11th over to completely derail the Royals. The left-armer had Smith caught on an individual score of 33 and then three balls later Binny (13) edged one to the keeper. At the fall of Binny’s wicket the Royals were tottering at 75 for five, that’s when Faulkner held the innings together and accelerated later to get them to a good total.
Australia’s World Cup hero James Faulkner was the star with the ball as well with his innings taking 3/26 with the ball. The Punjab run chase got off to the worst possible start when Virender Sehwag (0) was out first ball of their innings, edging a Tim Southee outswinger to the wicketkeeper. Their problems compounded further with quick dismissals of Wriddhiman Saha (7) and the dangerous Glenn Maxwell (7). India’s test opener Murali Vijay (37) was shaping up nicely to guide the team’s run chase but his run out in the ninth did the cause a disservice after which they simply didn’t recover.
Watch the amazing catch by Tim Southee to dismiss KXIP captain George Bailey.
Black armbands were worn by the players, match officials and the commentators to pay tribute to the death of the legendary former Australia captain and cricket broadcaster Richie Benaud prior to the start of the match.
Image courtesy: BCCI