Third consecutive defeat for Rajasthan Royals puts them in a spot of bother

Ben Stokes unable to fire up the Royals today
 

Kings XI Punjab (155-4) defeat Rajasthan Royals (152-9) by 6 wickets on the back of KL Rahul’s copybook 84*-run knock to inch closer to a Playoff berth.

Rajasthan Royals seem to have lost the initial hard earned momentum. With every game, they seem to be discovering newer problems. Their batting is not firing and this has put them in big time trouble.

Invited to set the target, Rajasthan Royals opener Jos Buttler (51) smashed his second successive half century to play a crucial part for his team first up. However, Buttler did not get the support of his fellow batsmen as they kept departing one after the other.

Star player Ben Stokes who was picked by RR for a fat pay-check continued his disappointing run in the tournament to get out on 12.It was Shreyas Gopal’s 16 ball 24 which took the Rajasthan total over 150.

However, given the small ground and the flat pitch at Indore, it was never going to prove enough against a strong KXIP batting line up.

To their credit, the RR bowlers particularly Jofra Archer (3.4-43-1) and Ben Stokes (3-22-1) took a couple of early breakthroughs of Chris Gayle (8) and Mayank Agarwal (2) to keep Rajasthan in the match. After a quiet period of around six overs in which neither too many runs were scored nor a wicket taken, Karun Nair (31) and Axar Patel (4) were dismissed in quick succession to bring back some interest into the match.

However, the class of KL Rahul (84*, SR: 155.55) was too good for the RR bowlers to prevent KXIP from chasing down the total. Rahul has been in sublime form in the tournament and this game was no different. Coming out to open the batting, he remained unbeaten until the last ball.

There were no rash shots, no reckless batting. With a copybook knock, adorned with 7 fours and 3 sixes, Rahul took his side to victory assisted by some power hitting from all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (23, SR: 143.75).

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