IPL 2019 Match 32, Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals: Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin starred with the bat and bowl to lead Kings XI Punjab to a fine victory against Rajasthan Royals by 12 runs in Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali. Earlier, Punjab opener – KL Rahul smashed his 4th fifty of the edition to provide the hosts a perfect platform for a competitive total. Courtesy this win, KXIP have moved into the top-4 in the points table. (SCORECARD)

Chasing 183, Jos Buttler and his new partner Rahul Tripathi provided Rajasthan Royals a quick start. Debutant Arshdeep Singh struck made an impressive outing as he removed the dangerous Englishman for 23. Post Buttler’s wicket, Tripathi and Sanju Samson who added 59 for the 3rd wicket in in 7.3 overs to keep RR on track. But, after Ashwin removed Samson (27), Royals stuttered to kept the chase on track.

Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane joined Tripathi in the middle. But the pair was unable to really push on and the required rate created huge pressure. Playing his first IPL game – Ashton Turner, who replaced Steve Smith in the line-up, walked in to bat at a crucial time in the game. He was dismissed for ducks in his last 2 T20 innings (vs Adelaide Strikers and India). Turner tried to take on M Ashwin in his very first ball, mistimed it and was caught by David Miller.

Earlier, Rahul struck a well-timed fifty but Jofra Archer stole the limelight from him with splendid figures of 3/15 as Kings XI Punjab posted 182/6 against Rajasthan Royals. Rahul, who was included in the 15-member World Cup squad on Monday, took 47 balls to score 52 with the help of three fours and two sixes.A

Miller (40 off 27 balls; 2×4; 2×6) also played a vital role as the pair stitched together an 85-run stand for the third wicket after visiting team skipper Ajinkya Rahane asked them to bat first. But Archer bowled a brilliant second spell to not only snare two wickets in the same over but check the run flow, before Kings XI skipper R Ashwin played a 4-ball 17 run cameo to take the score past the 180-run mark.

Rahul, who scored his maiden hundred in the IPL recently, started very slowly and was 13 off 23 balls at the halfway stage. But then he shifted gears seamlessly before getting out to Jaydev Unadkat (1/48).

Kings XI lost Chris Gayle 30 (22b; 2×4; 3×6) early, the veteran southpaw edging a Jofra Archer delivery to Sanju Samson behind the stumps. After the Powerplay overs, the home team were 39/1. Rahul and Miller then upped the ante in the 14th and 15th overs with 39 runs coming from them.

Rahul brought up his 14th fifty in the IPL in the 17th over, milking Archer for a sublime boundary between cover and mid-off but Unadkat made amends for getting spanked by the India right-hander earlier, by removing him in the 18th over, Archer taking the catch at point.

Archer then removed Nicholas Pooran (5) and Mandeep Singh (0) in the 19th over before Dhawal Kulkarni accounted for Miller, the South African trying to clear wide long on and instead giving wicketkeeper Jos Buttler an easy catch in the final over.

But just when it looked like Kings XI would finish with a whimper, Ashwin led from the front by smashing a four and two back-to-back sixes off the last two balls to finish on a high.