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IPL 2018: Classy KL Rahul Helps Kings XI Punjab Outsmart Royals

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Kings XI Punjab notched their sixth victory in the Indian Premier League to beat the struggling Rajasthan Royals in match number 38 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. Classy KL Rahul helped KXIP outsmart Royals as his side won the match by six wickets to keep their position intact in the top four of the IPL table.
In pursuit of a competitive 153 runs, the hosts chased down the target in 18.4 overs t0 inflict misery on Rajasthan Royals. Rahul smashed an unbeaten 54-ball 84 to see his side through the line. He shared a valuable 68 runs with Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (23*) that helped the side gain momentum and down the Royals on a blockbuster Sunday.
Earlier, Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the pick of Kings XI Punjab bowlers to dent hopes of Rajasthan Royals with 3/27 in four overs. The Royals were restricted to 152/9 in 20 overs with Jos Buttler scoring a 39-ball 51. Besides him, none of the other batsmen took the initiative to go ahead and help the visitors have a go at KXIP bowlers.

Rahul continues the good work

His unbeaten 84 helped Kings XI Punjab get to the target with ease. The in-form opener made sure he stayed till the end to guide his team through. For the first time he lost partner Gayle for a paltry 8 runs and the partnership lasted only 23 runs. But despite that, the Indian cricketer carried on and shared a 50-run stand with Karun Nair (31). His elegance flowed in as he kept surging forward,
In nine matches, Rahul has reached 376 runs the most by a KXIP batsman. That shows how much they have been dependant on the player to give them the platform. Rahul made batting looks so pleasing to the eyes. A pure batsman with a penchant for stroke-making, the former Royal Challengers Bangalore player has enticed one and all with his ecstatic belief and strength to go forward.
What made his innings look interesting is that Rahul was 48 of 43, and just like what top batsmen do, he was able to accelerate quickly and then scored 36 of his next 11. The running between the wickets, especially the twos was a standout feature of his innings as well.

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His quality in finishing the game and staying till the end drew the praise from coach Virender Sehwag as well.

RR disappoint with bat and ball

Besides Jos Buttler, one of the others came to the fore for RR in a crunch battle they needed to win. Having said that, the amount of faith shown in D’Arcy Short makes for interesting reading. The Aussie was dismissed for just 2 runs as his poor form in the IPL continued. One strongly feels that if they’d shown the same faith in South African star Heinrich Klassen, he would’ve given better results.
One would have expected RR to get more runs and put up a competitive score, but the failure of big guns and a silent middle-order did not help their cause. In the bowling too they disappointed largely and despite getting four wickets for 87 runs, they let the match slip away. RR’s hopes of qualifying for the top four is all but over and it is Ajinkya Rahane’s own form and captaincy that has been a big factor for their woes.
Ben Stokes was a failure yet again as his poor run in IPL 2018 continued. The Million Dollar man’s 12 runs with the bat was a blob. Jofra Archer did not have a day he would have liked to and was plundered for runs especially in the end when Rahul decided to end things in a hurry.

Mujeeb deserves special praise

Three wickets for the Afghanistan teenager stole the game for Kings from the hands of Royals. He got the dangerous and well set Jos Buttler before getting his countryman Stokes. The wicket of Archer was a bonus as the teenage sensation kept impressing. His three-wicket spell helped him get to 12 wickets for the season with an economy rate of 6.85 that is so far the best in the season.
As far as Kings XI Punjab’s journey in this IPL is concerned, Mujeeb deserves special praise for getting them to where they belong at the moment. The 17-year old bowled a good number of deliveries which would have gone on to hit the stumps and seldom gave batsmen room; even the three boundaries he conceded were shots created by batsmen.

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