Kings XI Punjab won a thriller after Rajasthan Royals’ chase was derailed following the controversial dismissal of Jos Buttler. Royals were cruising in their chase of 185 when KXIP skipper R Ashwin Mankaded Buttler in the 13th over of the innings. Buttler had to walk off after TV replays confirmed he was well short of the crease.
From 108 for 1 in 12.4 overs, Rajasthan Royals were reduced to 164 for 8 in 19.1 overs. It would be unfair to take anything away from a spectacular bowling performance by Kings XI Punjab but Rajasthan Royals would wonder how differently things could have ended for them had Buttler not been Mankaded at that crucial stage of the game.
The match will be remembered for the controversy involving R Ashwin and Jos Buttler.
Royals were in a comfortable position in their chase of 185 with Buttler looking like he would storm to his maiden T20 hundred. He was on fire for the Royals in 2018 and he continued from he left off when he walked in to bat with Ajinkya Rahane – the duo added 78 for the first wicket before Rahane fell to Ashwin in the ninth over.
R Ashwin bowled well – he gave away only 20 runs off his four overs and picked the key wicket of Rahane. But his decision to Mankad Buttler sparked a controversy. England cricketers Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy were immediately critical on Twitter while Dale Steyn said he did not see R Ashwin winning any Spirit of the Cricket awards.
Opnions were also divided in the commentary box and this debate does not look like settling down any time soon.
But at the end of the night, credit must be given to KXIP for a spirited bowling display. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was brilliant as he often is, picking up 2 for 31 off 4 overs. Mohammed Shami, who has been one of India’s top pacers in Tests and ODIs for a while, bowled his 4 overs for 33 runs while Ankit Rajpoot was clinical in the last over, picking up two wickets.
Chris Gayle got off to a slow start but once he got his eyes in, he was unstoppable. Gayle became the fastest man to reach 4000 IPL runs and then bludgeoned his way to his 25th IPL fifty. He looked well set to bring up his 7th hundred in the IPL but Ben Stokes dismissed him 21 runs short of the milestone.
Besides Chris Gayle, there was very little from any of the other KXIP batsmen. KL Rahul was dismissed for 4 in the first over while Mayank Agarwal made 22. However, Sarfaraz Khan played beautifully and smashed an unbeaten 46 off 29 balls including 6 fours and 1 six.
Joffra Archer did not pick any wickets but he was the pick of the bowlers for the Royals. The West Indian youngster gave away only 17 runs in his four overs; Ben Stokes picked two wickets including that of Gayle and Pooran.