Rajasthan Royals (RR) have made the race to the playoffs an interesting one as they defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by chasing down the target of 186 with ease. The one-time champion side made a strong start and was always in contention to finish the job. Ben Stokes (50 off 26) provided a solid start to RR and added 60 runs with Robin Uthappa in 5.3 overs.
RR did lose two more wickets in the chase but in the end, chased down the target with 15 balls still remaining. Both the teams remain in contention for a playoff spot now. Before the final four games which will decide the three teams that will acquire the remainder of three spots in the playoffs, here’s a look at highlights from the KXIP vs RR match –
1000th six and unlucky 99
If the record being one of the three batsmen to score over 10,000 T20 runs was not enough, Chris Gayle achieved yet another memorable record in T20s by hitting 1000th six of his career. Yes, 1000th six, which means that out of 13572 runs, Gayle has scored over 6000 runs (6006 to be exact) by dealing in sixes. Now that’s an incredible record for a batsman.
There was a time when the T20 cricket wasn’t given that much importance but players like Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo gave it much relevance. Among them, Gayle could be called as the flagbearer of this format.
But Gayle fell short of completing his 23rd T20 century and was dismissed on 99 by Jofra Archer. He swung his bat in after missing the three-figure mark by just one run. The bat landed few metres away from him. Gayle realised his mistake and acknowledged Jofra Archer on his way back to the pavilion.
All-round Ben Stokes steps up
Why is the team management backing Stokes to open? The star all-rounder answered this query with a century against Mumbai Indians and stamped his authority on the opening slot with quickfire 50 off 46 against KXIP. His quick innings was laced with three sixes and six fours. Stokes’ strike-rate of 192.31 saw RR cross the 50-run mark in the first powerplay itself. He added 60 runs for the first wicket with Robin Uthappa.
Stokes also displayed his heroics with the ball and scalped two crucial wickets. He first dismissed KL Rahul (46) and then sent back Nicholas Pooran, who was batting on 22 off 10. He was bestowed with the Man of the Match award.
Sanju Samson shows signs of consistency after India selection
Samson’s poor run after his twin half-centuries in the first two matches was one of the biggest talking points. For a team that had even dropped Steve Smith from the playing XI, dropping Samson wouldn’t have been a tough call. But they continued to back him and Samson scored crucial 48 off 25 against KXIP.
The innings would have been a huge confidence booster for Samson, who will also travel with the T20I squad to Australia. The selectors have preferred Samson over Rishabh Pant and he will have to perform consistently to prove the selectors correct. His IPL team would also want Samson to keep going.