A tough game of cricket ended Kings XI Punjab’s way at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. The Rajasthan Royals conceded 182 runs in the first innings. KXIP started and ended well, while the Rajasthan Royals bowlers kept it very tight in the middle overs. The chase started on a good note for the Royals, but we lost a few wickets too many during the latter half of the chase that cost us the game. Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and put the Kings in to bat. Chris Gayle got a life early on when Archer misjudged a chance in the deep, and the ball landed beyond the fence. Archer got his chance for redemption soon enough when he gave the Royals the first wicket. Chris Gayle was done in by a cross-seamed slower one that he edged through to our keeper, Samson. KL Rahul was in a cautious mood, as he concentrated on turning the strike over in the first few overs. Mayank Agarwal took on Shreyas Gopal and Ish Sodhi in the middle overs. However, Ish got the better of Agarwal when he got the batsman to miscue one down to Archer. Kings XI Punjab found another partnership when Miller paired up with Rahul. The South African hit a few big hits, while Rahul crossed his half-century. Soon after reaching the milestone, Rahul holed out to Archer, giving Unadkat his first wicket of the game. Archer bowled a magnificent penultimate over in the innings when he picked up two more wickets, those of Pooran and Mandeep Singh, finishing with figures of 3/15. These were his best bowling figures in the Vivo IPL. While Dhawal Kulkarni sent Miller back early in the final over, Ashwin wielded his willow to hit two sixes and a four taking Kings XI Punjab’s total to 182. Jos Buttler got the chase underway in usual fashion as he took on Mujeeb, dancing down the track and launched the ball into the stands. In the following over, he charged down the pitch and smacked another one out of the park. Debutant, Arshdeep Singh, got Buttler to top edge the ball, and Pooran got under the swirling ball to take a good catch. Jos had to depart for a handy 23, and that brought Sanju Samson in to bat. He stitched a handy partnership with promoted opener, Rahul Tripathi. The 59-run stand was broken by an Ashwin carrom-ball that hit Sanju’s off stump, reducing Rajasthan Royals to 97/2. Rahul Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane found it hard to go after the KXIP spinners. However, Tripathi reached his fifty and got out on the following delivery. A collapse followed as Vivo IPL debutant, Ashton Turner had to walk back on a golden duck. Turner tried to get things going off his very first ball, but only managed to find Miller at long off. Rahane, Archer and Gopal, all fell in quick succession, while Stuart Binny waged a lone battle towards the end. Binny smashed Shami for a four and a six in the 18th over and also took on Arshdeep in the penultimate over. He finished on 33 off 11 balls and stayed unbeaten at the end, as the Royals finished 13 runs short of the target. It was another tough result to take for the boys. At one point in the chase, everything seemed under control, but the middle order couldn’t finish the job. We have to turn our fortunes around in quick time, as we have 2 wins out of 8 games. With 6 games left, we will look to win all of them by playing some very good cricket.
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