Middle order collapse dented Rajasthan Royals chase and were restricted to 163-8 to hand Kings XI Punjab a win by 16 runs.
Chasing 180 Rajasthan Royals would have wanted openers to provide the solid start but Karun Nair (11) was out early to leave RR at 21-1 in 2.4 overs. Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson looked good and led the fight backbefore Rishi Dhawan picked two consecutive wickets to destructRR. Dhawan first bowled Rahane (23) off an in dipping delivery and next hadShane Watson in similar fashion for a first ball duck.Two back to back dismissal pegged back RR to 56-3.
Stuart Binny has been struggling throughout and once again he failed to help RR’s cause as he perished for just seven runs. Two over later Sanju Samson (30) was stumped to leave RR further into dismay at 83-5. Rahul Tewatia (13) was sent in ahead of Brad Hodge but he too fell without doing any damage to the opponents.
RR needed 79 from 25 balls when Brad Hodge and James Faulkner took the centre stage. Hodge smashed Beuran Hendricks for 22 runs in 17th over and brought RR very much into the game. Next over Hodge was stumped off leggie Akshar Patel for 31 off 18 balls and with his dismissal things looked bleak for RR. One ball later Shaun Marsh took a fantastic catch to dismiss Kevon Cooper (2) off Akhshar Patel.
RR required 49 runs off 12 balls with Faulkner stillout in the middle He tried his best to pull off a sensational win and smashed L. Balaji for 18 runs leaving 31 runs to get from the last over. Beuran Hendricks who was already expensive had plenty of runs to playwith and Faulkner was left with too much to do as he managed to score 14 runs off his over and Royals were 16 runs short of the target to finish at 163-8 in 20 overs.Faulkner remained unbeaten on 35 off 13 balls and hit four 6s and a four.
Akshar Patel (3-24), Rishi Dhawan (2-25) and Karanveer Singh (2-16) bowled superbly and were economical as well.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab went on at a good pace throughout their innings but couple of wickets in the middle slowed things a bit and it was only due to a quick-fire stand between George Bailey and David Warner that lifted KXIP to 179 in 20 overs.
Rahul Tewatia (1-24) was economical while James Faulkner (1-39) and V. Malik (1-29) despite picking wickets each were expensive in their three overs.
With this win Kings XI Punjab guarantee themselves a top spot in group stages while Rajasthan Royals stay at fifth place with 14 points and need to beat Mumbai Indians on Sundaytoprogressto the playoffs.
Man of the Match: Shaun Marsh
Brief Scores: RR 165-8(J. Faulkner 35*, A. Patel 3-24) lost to KXIP 179-4 (S. Marsh40, R. Tewatia 1-24) by 16 runs.