Punjab Kings have the last laugh in run-fest
Kolkata: A brilliant, counter-attacking 119 by skipper Sanju Samson was not enough as Punjab Kings handed Rajasthan Royals a four-run defeat in the first match for both teams in the 14th edition of IPL on Monday.
Set a mammoth target of 222 for an improbable win, the Royals fans hoped that they could do encore of their famous win in Sharjah. However, it didn't quite happen as Samson holed out young Arshdeep Singh in the last ball of the match with five runs remaining.
It was literally a single-handed effort from Samson, for the next effort were all in their 20s by Jos Buttler (25), Shivam Dube (23) and Riyan Parag (25).
Earlier, Punjab captain KL Rahul literally carried his bat for a classy 91 off 50 balls (seven fours & five sixes) and found an able ally in Deepak Hooda (64 off 28 balls, four fours & six sixes) as they scored a potentially match-winning total of 221 for six.
Follow the match as it happened...
Half time report: Rahul, Hooda power Punjab Kings to 221 for six
Kolkata: Captain KL Rahul literally carried his bat for a classy 91 off 50 balls (seven fours & five sixes) and found an able ally in Deepak Hooda (64 off 28 balls, four fours & six sixes) as Kings XI Punjab smashed a potentially match-winning total of 221 for six against Rajasthan Royals this evening.
As expected, it was a six-fest from the Punjab batsmen who were sent into bat by rival skipper Sanju Samson. A number of dropped catches made it worse for Samson's men as only two bowlers came out of this carnage with their reputation in tact - debutant Chetan Sakariya was really impressive with a haul of 3/31, Chris Morris held his own with 2/41 despite getting a bit of stick.
The savage hitting from Rahul and Hooda almost overshadowed the cameo of a 40 off 28 deliveries by Chris Gayle. The 'Universe Boss' reached a landmark of 350 sixes in IPL alone.
Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals look for redemption
Kolkata: Chris Gayle, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler – it will be a Who’s Who of some of biggest hitters of the game in fray as Punjab Kings take on Rajasthan Royals in the fourth match of IPL in Mumbai today.
Ironically, both teams big on star value will be looking to make amends about their reputation of being underachievers in the league - both Punjab and Rajasthan finishing sixth and last in the table, respectively. KL Rahul’s Punjab had the satisfaction of winning five matches in a row as they narrowly failed to make the cut for the play-offs while Rajasthan’s campaign had been a patchy one.
While the erstwhile Kings XI Punjab has re-branded itself as Punjab Kings to look for a slice of luck, Royals have entrusted the job of captaincy to Sanju Samson, a Royals loyalist and a IPL veteran. The latter have also inducted Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara as their Director of Cricket for guidance and valuable inputs from the dugout.
The Wankhede Stadium, which provided perfect batting conditions in the Chennai-Delhi game, can brace itself for a flurry of big hits irrespective of the result.
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