Royal battle goes to the wire
Chasing 191, KXIP innings too ended for the identical score at tyhe end of the allotted 20 overs.
Earlier, Ajinkya Rahane’s classical assault enabled Rajasthan Royals to pile up a decent 191 for six.
Rahane smashed his way to 74 off 54 balls with six boundaries and two sixes as he laid the foundation for a reasonable total adding 95 for the opening wicket with skipper Shane Watson (45 off 35 balls, 5x4, 2x6).
Karun Nair 25 off 12 balls also provided some muscle along with Stuart Binny who clipped 12 off four balls. Axar Patel was the pick of the bowlers with two for 30. It was Rahane, who set the tone with a flurry of boundaries as Watson was content playing the singles and giving more strike to the India international. Out of his first five boundaries, Rahane hit four off Mitchell Johnson, which included, a pull, couple of cut shots and a whip over square leg as he raced into the 20’s.
Watson, initially was trying to get into the groove as he consumed 24 balls which yielded 18 runs with two boundaries. It was the ninth over of the Rajasthan Royals innings when Watson decided to tee off launching into off-break bowler Shivam Sharma. Watson hit the Delhi lad for three boundaries and a six to race to 36. Another six off Patel got him into 40’s as he looked for his second successive half-century in as many matches.
It took an inspirational piece of glovework from Wriddhiman Saha that saw him get back to dug-out when he missed an armer from Axar and Saha effected a leg-side stumping with effortless ease.
Once Watson was gone, it was young Deepak Hooda (19 off 9 balls), who immediately sent Glenn Maxwell’s friendly off-breaks into the stands as Rahane completed his half-century with a six over square-leg off Anureet Singh. Shivam, who got tonked all around had the consolation of cleaning up Hooda while Steve Smith (0) was holed out at deep mid-wicket off Axar’s bowling. Rahane however continued with clean hitting in company of the very talented Karun Nair. Finally, when Johnson got the batsman to edge one caught by a diving Saha, Rahane had done his job as Nair produced a final flourish.