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28 May 2008 – Punjab C.A. Stadium, Mohali¬: Kings XI Punjab emerged victorious by 41 runs in the clash of the titans of the IPL League. Put in to bat, Shaun Marsh and James Hopes put together a brilliant opening stand of 133 runs to lay the foundation for a perfect onslaught. Rajasthan Royals, without their captain Shane Warne and stars like Smith and Tanvir, felt the heat in the final league encounter. Marsh continued the good work with captain Yuvraj Singh who cracked a quick fire 49 of 16-balls. Marsh, on the other hand, raised his first T20 hundred as he went on to score 115 of 69 deliveries.

 

Having set a target of 221, the home team would have been confident on a comfortable victory and getting even with the Royals. The Royals did not have a good start as they lost their stand-in opener Kaif for 1. Younis Khan, who finally got a game, looked out of match practice as he struggled on his way to 3 off 7-balls. The silver-lining, however, was Neeraj Patel. The star from the previous thriller against Mumbai continued from where he left and looked in supreme touch. He drove and found the gaps with ease as he moved to his maiden IPL 50, scoring 57 off 39 before being bowled to Chawla off a ball that kept low.

 

Watson, stand-in captain for the Royals, did not look at his usual best and perished after he scored 22. With the asking rate over 15 runs an over, the Kings XI Punjab received a resurgent onslaught from Akmal and Pathan. The duo smashed as many as six 6s in the space of 14 deliveries to revive the visitors hopes. The Royals would have been hoping that the pair stuck around for a few overs to give the Royals an outside chance.

 

That, however, wasn’t to be and Akmal held out to long off, not before scoring 24 off just 8-balls. Pathan and Rawat continued to build the score, but they could only reduce the margin of defeat. The final hopes too perished with Pathan’s dismissal (39 off 15) and Rajasthan Royals ended at 180/7.

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