Rajasthan Royals 186 for 3 (Stokes 50, Samson 48, Smith 31*, Uthappa 30) beat Kings XI Punjab 185 for 4 (Gayle 99, Rahul 46, Archer 2-26, Stokes 2-32) by seven wickets
Abu Dhabi: Rajasthan Royals (RR) did a remarkable job in the run-chase as they beat Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by seven wickets in Match 50 of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Needing 186 runs to win, RR were off to a flying start as Ben Stokes cut loose to bring up the fastest fifty for any team in the season. The left-hander, meanwhile, zoomed past fifty in 24 balls, hitting 6 fours and 3 sixes.
But KXIP managed to get a much-needed breakthrough in the final over of the powerplay after Stokes got out off Chris Jordan’s bowling.
Sanju Samson replaced Stokes in the middle. While KXIP conceded 13 in the next two overs, Samson creamed a four and two sixes across the 9th and 10th over to take RR past 100.
While RR lost Uthappa in the 11th over, they continued to score at a brisk pace as Samson continued his merry ways with the bat. Over the next three overs, Samson hit two fours and a six while Smith hit two fours as RR zoomed past 140 after 14 overs.
Sanju was on the brink of his fourth fifty of the season as the 15th over but could not reach the landmark following a brilliant direct hit from J Suchith.
RR needed 40 runs off the last five overs to seal a win and they scored 29 of those in the next two overs. First, Buttler creamed a six on the final ball 16th over to help his side score 10 from that over and then he and Smith hit four overs in the next over to take RR past 170.
The duo of Smith and Buttler closed out the match in the 18th over as RR completed a fine run-chase for the second time in a row and kept their playoff hopes alive.
Earlier, KXIP remained unchanged while RR, who elected to bowl, brought in Varun Aaron in place of Ankit Rajpoot.
Jofra Archer struck in the first over with a ripping short ball after Ben Stokes took a stunning diving catch to dismiss Mandeep Singh.
Chris Gayle got a life in the fourth over after Riyan Parag could not hold on to a catch in the deep off Varun Aaron’s bowling. The left-hander immediately made RR pay for the same as he hammered a six and two fours in the fifth over bowled by Kartik Tyagi.
Rahul joined the party as he creamed a six and a four in the final over of the powerplay as he and Gayle completed a fifty-run stand to take KXIP to 53/1 in the powerplay.
Gayle tonked his third six of the match in the next over and added a four to his account in the eighth over.
Rahul Tewatia was introduced into the attack in the ninth over and he made a good start, conceding just two runs in his first over. Rahul then hit a six in the next over as KXIP moved to 81/1 after the halfway stage of their innings.
Gayle then brought up his second successive fifty and third of the season in the 11th over. A couple of overs later, KXIP moved past hundred as Gayle and Rahul completed a century stand.
RR then broke the Gayle-Rahul partnership after Ben Stokes dismissed the KXIP skipper for 46 in the 15th over.
Nicholas Pooran announced his arrival in some style as the left-hander hammered three sixes in the first nine balls he faced. But he got out in the 18th over after Tewatia took a fine catch near the square-leg boundary rope.
Gayle then completed 1000 sixes in the T20 format and was in with a chance to notch up his seventh IPL hundred, but an Archer delivery ricocheted onto the stumps from his pads and he got out for 99 before KXIP posted 185/4 on the board.