24th May 2014

Which also means MI, SRH still in Playoffs race

Despite some late heroics by the likes of Brad Hodge and James Faulkner, the Rajasthan Royals ended up losing their away match against Kings XI Punjab by 16 runs. By virtue of this result, RR (14 points, 4th place), Mumbai Indians (12 points, 5th place) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (12 points, 6th place) are still in the running for the last available Pepsi IPL 2014 Playoffs spot. Meanwhile, KXIP (20 points) are guaranteed a top finish in the league stage thanks to this win.

Earlier, Shane Watson asked KXIP to bat first at Mohali after winning the toss. Virender Sehwag (18) came out with a destructive intent as he helped plunder 15 runs off the first over of the game. And while the senior opener struck three fours and a maximum during his eight-ball innings, James Faulkner got rid of him in the third over itself. Shaun Marsh then joined Manan Vohra, and the duo made a fluent start, taking KXIP to 53 for one by the end of the powerplay. However, Vohra (25) was run out a short while later, just when he was looking in good touch.

Meanwhile, Marsh continued to routinely dispatch the RR bowlers to and over the fence. Wriddhiman Saha gave him great company as KXIP clocked in 83 runs for the loss of two wickets by the halfway point. The pair then brought up their team's 100 in the 12th over. However, Marsh (40) walked back to the dugout, courtesy a run-out, leaving KXIP on 113 for three. And six runs later, Saha (27) also departed, after he holed out to Ajinkya Rahane off Rahul Tewatia.

This brought the hard-hitting David Miller (29*) and KXIP skipper George Bailey (26*) together. After playing out a couple of overs, the duo stepped on the pedal and took the RR bowlers to the cleaners in the death. They scored a total of 46 runs in the final three overs - including 23 off the 19th over of the innings - to propel the KXIP score to 179 for four.

In response, Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair (11) opened the RR innings. However, the latter was dismissed by Lakshmipathy Balaji with just 21 runs on the board. But Rahane rallied on as he was joined by Sanju Samson. Both batters steadied the innings initially and took the visitors' score to 44 for one by the end of the powerplay. But then, Rishi Dhawan dealt a massive double-blow in the ninth over; he first cleaned up Rahane (23), and on the very next delivery, he meted out the exact same treatment to Shane Watson (0). Even Stuart Binny's (7) stay in the middle was brief - debutant Karanveer Singh foxed him with his leg-spin, leaving RR tottering on 70 for four in 11.1 overs.

And while Sanju Samson tried to hold up one end, he ended up being Karanveer's second victim, in the 14th over. Thanks to some exceptional bowling, the 26-year-old Punjab leggie ended up with figures of 4-0-16-2. Tewatia (16) and Brad Hodge then paired up and took the RR score past the 100-run mark in the 16th over. But Tewatia perished in the same over - off the bowling of Akshar Patel. Even Hodge (31), who was looking dangerous and helped plunder a whopping 22 runs off the 17th over, was unable to carry his bat till the end; the veteran batsman was stumped by Saha off the bowling of Akshar Patel in the next over. The KXIP spinner, who ended up with three for 24, then got rid of Kevon Cooper (2) a couple of deliveries later.

With RR needing 49 runs off 12 balls, Faulkner went after Balaji in the 19th over. He struck two sixes and a four to reap a total of 18 runs during that six-ball stretch. RR still needed 31 off the final six deliveries, and while Faulkner (35*) struck two sixes, he could not save his side from a 16-run loss, as RR ended up at 163 for eight in 20 overs.

Man of the Match: Shaun Marsh for his outstanding performance with the bat and in the field


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