KINGS XI PUNJAB vs RAJASTHAN ROYALS: HITS AND MISSES
ATUL KUMAR MAURYA AND MANISH SHARMA | 28th September 2020
Did anyone see this one coming? The game of cricket never fails to amuse us, does it? What looked like a certain Kings XI Punjab win was snatched from the jaws of defeat by the Royals from Rajasthan. Chasing down Punjab’s mammoth total with 3 balls to spare is something that even the Rajasthan Royals wouldn’t have thought of in the wildest of their dreams. On the other hand, Kings XI might still be wondering what else could’ve they done to secure a win in the riveting encounter, which had its fair share of thrills and spills to say the least.
‘That save’ from Nicholas Pooran, Rahul Tewatia’s heroics, a masterclass from Sanju Samson and more. Here are the hits and misses from the enthralling encounter between the two sides.
Remember the name: Rahul Tewatia
One can only imagine the amount of pressure Rahul Tewatia would have been under after facing the first 23 deliveries and scoring only 17 in a record-breaking run chase. But credit to the man from Haryana to have the mental toughness in such challenging conditions. The left-hander completely turned the game on its head after hitting Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in the 18th over. He was not finished there as he managed to hit the in-form Mohammed Shami for a six behind point in the following over, which all but sealed the game for the Rajasthan Royals.
Three wickets in the first game and 53 run off 31 balls the second, Tewatia might just be the all-rounder who could make all the difference for Rajasthan in this year’s IPL, especially in the absence of the mighty Ben Stokes.
The Kings XI openers are on a mission
KL Rahul, 222 runs in 2 matches. Mayank Agarwal, 221 runs in 2 matches. Yes, the Orange Cap holders are bludgeoning their way to a 100+ average like it’s nothing and are only separated by a run. That’s how good the Kings XI Punjab openers have been in this edition of the Indian Premier League. Last time, it was the KL Rahul show. This time, Mayank Agarwal put his foot through the gas pedal and showed what he’s capable of in the shortest format of the game.
It was brutal hitting of the highest order from both the Karnataka batsmen as the Kings XI duo dispatched every bowler to every corner of the ground. The understanding between the two and the ability to switch gears is something that makes this opening partnership a mightily dangerous one. Both Rahul and Agarwal ensured that the run-rate never came down, while not losing their cool in the middle and throwing their wickets away. If both these batsmen keep scoring at this pace, the battle for the Orange Cap will go down to the wire.
And more than that, silverware could be on the cards at the end of the season with the vein of form they’re in. Potentially.
SAS do the business for the Royals
If Liverpool had Suárez and Sturridge ensuring opponents had no pray, the Rajasthan Royals have Smith and Samson. Going into the run chase, all eyes were on the swashbuckling Jos Butler but when the Englishman fell early to Cottrell, the Smith-Samson duo made sure that they don’t fall behind in the chase. Both the right-handers attacked from the word go, maximizing the powerplay period and in the process, also playing some proper cricketing shots which were a joy to watch. The partnership set the tone which was required while chasing a mammoth target.
The two batsmen will be key to the Royals if they are to have a successful tournament as the batting order following them does not instill much confidence in the team. Expecting Rahul Tewatia to produce such match-winning performances regularly would also be a little unfair on the southpaw.
Will the real Glenn Maxwell please stand up?
As the sparks flew from both ends at the start of the innings, Kings XI at one point looked like reaching 250 in their quota of 20 overs. But 223 looked like a winning score, didn’t it? It wasn’t. The KXIP middle order couldn’t end what the openers started. Yes, they helped the team in reaching the mammoth total, but it still felt like they were 20 runs short just because of how they started.
Pooran’s 8-ball 25 was brilliant, but what has happened to the good ‘ol Glenn Maxwell? An innings where the Kings XI could’ve have used his firepower to really drive things home, the Aussie certainly failed to deliver. With 8 wickets in hand, Maxwell had the license to unleash, but unfortunately, he didn’t. 13 from 9 is decent, but not decent enough in the context of the game. And simply not decent enough when you’re ‘the’ Glenn Maxwell.
Kings XI will be wishing that he returns to his brutal best, sooner rather than later.
Yorkers went missing
Probably one of the most difficult skills to pull off for any bowler, both successfully and consistently but the yorker is also the greatest weapon a fast bowler can have in his arsenal. The issue with both teams’ bowling in the match was that there weren’t enough efforts to attempt the yorker. When you have the likes of Jofra Archer, Mohammed Shami, and Sheldon Cottrell on show, one would expect yorkers to not just be tried and tested, but also be executed, particularly in the death overs. The bowlers mostly relied on varying their pace and bowling the line outside off and eventually went for plenty.
KXIP’s death bowling conundrum
It was Chris Jordan who conceded 30 runs in the final over against Delhi Capitals and Sheldon Cottrell suffered a similar fate against Rajasthan Royals in the 18th over of the game. In both games, these were the turning point. Unsurprisingly of course. While the pair of Shami and Cottrell along with Ravi Bishnoi have done well in the initial stages of the game, finishing the job off in the death overs has been Kings XI’s achilles heel so far.
The management would be hoping that these were just one-off performances and nothing more because simply put, conceding 30 runs in an over is criminal in any format of the game.