May 7, 2018
Holkar Stadium in Indore is relatively small and R Ashwin had no doubt what he had to do after winning the toss. After winning toss and electing to bowl against Rajasthan Royals, there was rarely a thing that Kings XI did wrong. Led by Mujeeb Zadran and Andrew Tye, the bowlers kept Rajasthan Royals to a paltry 152 for 9 in 20 overs. Later, KL Rahul aced the chase to perfection and scored 84* off 54 balls, his highest score in Indian Premier League, to lead Kings XI to a six-wicket win and to third position in the points table. Royals, with only three wins off nine games, remain at the bottom.
Kings XI were chasing a modest total of 153 at Holkar but they did not have the best of the starts. Jofra Archer bowled at an excess of 145 on more than one ocassion and troubled Chris Gayle. After being hit for a couple of boundaries, Archer got Gayle — caught at point.
Indian trio of Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and Axar Patel were back in the hut and Rajasthan Royals thought they had an outside chance of winning their fourth game of the season. But Rahul was in no mood to throw his good start. He scored his 50 and then switched gears towards the end. Kings XI needed 51 runs off 30 balls but Rahul finished the game with one over remaining.
Royals came up with a decent bowling performance but would think they were 20-25 runs short. For that, they needed their batsmen to step up and score some runs in the powerplay. Jos Buttler was promoted to open the innings seeing his 167 strike rate as an opener in IPL and also his performance against Delhi Daredevils as the opener. And he justified that with a half-century.
But runs were once again missing from the bat of D’Arcy Short who pulled his third ball. A rash shot which ended his innings. Ajinkya Rahan followed soon and Royals were in a bit of a trouble. The powerplay did not yield many runs. Buttler and Sanju Samson tried to rebuild but the latter fell after a 49-run stand.
KXIP spinners strangled the Royals batting and when the powerplay got over, the other chipped in. Samson was caught at the ropes. Agarwal and Manoj Tiwary combined for a stunning relay catch to get rid of Ben Stokes. Mujeeb then removed Buttler caught behind. A ball later, Archer was clean bowled with a googly that went between bat and pad.
With all their recognised batsmen back in the hut, Royals could not get a big finish. In the final five overs they added just 42 runs and lost five wickets. The tailenders could only take them past 150. This was short of the par score at the Holkar stadium and too little for KXIP.