Rahul's 52 guides KXIP to 182/6 against Royals
Mohali: Opener K L Rahul cracked a patient 50 before a terrific cameo by skipper Ravichandran Ashwin powered Kings XI Punjab to a challenging 182 for six against Rajasthan Royals in a second leg IPL clash here on Tuesday.
Rahul, who was named in the World Cup squad on Monday, recovered after a slow start to post a 47-ball 52 studded with three fours and two sixes. He was ably supported by David Miller (40 off 27) as the duo shared a 85-run stand to lay the foundation.
Ashwin then blasted a four-ball 17 in the last over as KXIP posted a good total on board.
Pacer Jofra Archer (3/15) returned with an exceptional three-wicket haul to emerge as the best bowler for the Royals.
Invited to bat, opener Gayle (30) smashed Jaydev Unadkat for a couple of sixes in the second over, before blasting Dhawal Kulkarni for a four and a six in the fifth over.
Archer then had him caught behind by Sanju Samson in the sixth over as KXIP were 39 for one in the first powerplay overs.
Playing his first IPL game this season, New Zealand's Ish Sodhi was then introduced into the attack and Mayank Agarwal (26 off 12) clobbered him for a six in the fourth ball.
Agarwal then picked up a four and a six off Shreyas Gopal before Sodhi returned to remove him. Trying to play a slog sweep, Agarwal was caught by Archer at long-on.
Left stranded on the other end, Rahul tried to steady the ship with Miller, who came into the side due to the last-minute ankle injury of Moises Henriques.
The duo took singles and twos before Rahul finally scored his first boundary when he lifted a Unadkat delivery across the mid-off region.
In the 14th over, Rahul and Miller exploded after bringing up the hundred for KXIP. The duo amassed 19 runs off Sodhi's over, his last, with Rahul smoking a massive six over deep square leg and Miller thumping one over long-off.
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab: 182 for 6 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 52; J Archer 3/15) vs Rajasthan Royals.