All eyes were on Rajasthan Royals (RR) as the team entered the SMS stadium to face Kings XI Punjab for the second time in 2 days. Tensions ran high which gave rise to a lot of questions – Will RR have to go through a repeat of their last performance? Does the team have a chance of making it to the playoffs? The Royals answered these questions with enthusiasm as the team went on to earn a 15 run victory over KXIP. Jos Buttler shone as the star of the show (and Man of the Match) as the English batsman slammed an impressive 82 runs to give RR a solid head-start and set a target of 158.
Royals bowling department – including Krishnappa “Batman” Gowtham , Ish Sodhi and the brilliant Jofra Archer – stepped their game up to restrict the visitors at 143 runs. Rejoice, fans of RR! We still stand strong and are raring to make a strong comeback.
Fans on social media had nothing but raves and compliments for the team as cricket legend, Mohammad Kaif commented on the win and said:
Wonderful innings from KL Rahul in that surface, reduced the margin of defeat considerably. But Rajasthan Royals will be delighted with this win. They are still in it and if they play to potential they could still make it to the top 4 #RRvKXIP
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) May 8, 2018
Ex-RR teammate, Graeme Smith also joined in the celebrations as he tweeted:
— Graeme Smith (@GraemeSmith49) May 9, 2018
Players from other teams joined in the celebrations as well as Mitchell McClenaghan from MI and Rashid Khan from SRH congratulated Ish Sodhi on his spectacular performance:
Great to watch bro ????
— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) May 8, 2018
Cheers big bro look forward to catching up in Bombay https://t.co/GZkzbaZhJo
— Ish Sodhi (@ish_sodhi) May 8, 2018
RR’s performance in the match had publications suitably impressed as they raved about players’ performance. The Times of India spoke about Buttler’s performance in an article stated that the batsman was in ‘rampaging form’. In the same article, the publication stated that Archer and Gowtham’s performance was impressive as they mixed their pace well and used the yorker cleverly in the death overs. Sportskeeda confirmed that with this match, Buttler had officially scored his highest T20 score ever. They also went on to state that while other bowlers did a stellar job, it was due to Ish Sodhi’s impeccable bowling that the team was able to restrict KXIP and stem the flow of their runs. It also talks about Jofra Archer and states that the bowler came through with his lethal death bowling skills when the team needed him. In an article by Hindustan Times, Buttler credited team mentor Shane Warne for his work with the bat. He said, “Warne has been influential for the whole side. He’s obviously a very forward thinking and likes aggressive cricket, always taking the positive option. He is a big influence on the leg-spin bowlers. Tactically, it’s fantastic speaking to him.”
Captain Ajinkya Rahane had nothing but praises for the team’s bowling, as News18 reported. He said, “Chasing 157, credit to our bowlers, especially in the powerplay. That stage was crucial, getting 2-3 initial wickets. And Ish Sodhi, fantastic. Our intention was to pick wickets, and keeping an attacking field will help us. Gowtham bowled really well, and then the Ashwin wicket as well. Overall, bowling unit was fantastic”.
Well, it seems that the Royals have found their stride yet again and seem more than ready to take on the opposition. The next few games will be absolutely crucial for the team if they are to make it to the playoffs. However, just as coal turns into diamonds if one applies enough pressure, the Royals perform admirably when the stakes are high. If this game was any indication, fans of RR can expect similar repeat performances in the future.