IPL 2018: KL Rahul's impressive half-century secures Kings XI victory

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Rahul's fine half-century steered Punjab to a win. image - IPL/Twitter.

Despite Rajasthan Royals putting up a spirited fight, Kings XI Punjab eased to a six-wicket victory in their IPL clash at Indore on Sunday.

Having been set a target of just 153, Ravichandran Ashwin’s men crossed the finish line with more than a over to spare.

Here, we look at the key talking points.

BUTTLER FIRES ONCE AGAIN

Jos Buttler had played a sensational knock of 67 (26) against the Delhi Daredevils and still ended up on the losing side. He carried on in the same fashion on Sunday despite the Royals losing both openers early. The Englishman was his usual inventive self as he mixed the conventional with the unexpected to fetch terrific results.

He formed a stirring partnership for the third-wicket with Sanju Samson as the two batsmen mitigated the initial damage with some style. He lost Samson and then Ben Stokes at the other end before completing a second half-century on the bounce.

MUJEEB SPINS ROYALS INTO A TANGLE

While all three of Kings XI’s spinners were impressive, Afghan teenager Mujeeb ur Rahman was the clear standout with an impressive three-wicket haul. The 17-year-old accounted for three of Rajasthan’s biggest guns in Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer as the visitors completely lost their way after 10 overs.

He got Buttler with one that moved away after pitching before castling Archer’s stumps in the next ball with a delivery that came. Finished with excellent figures of 3-27.

KL RAHUL STEERS PUNJAB TO WIN AFTER ROYALS HUSTLE

Though their total was well below par, Royals’ bowlers put up a fight with the early wickets of Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and Axar Patel. With Kings XI at 87/4, the Royals were very much in the match but Rahul played one of his slowest but finest fifties in the IPL to take his side home.

The opener started on fire but then tailored his game to the situation as wickets started falling at the other end. In Marcus Stoinis, he found an able partner and once he crossed the 50-run mark, he unleashed a flurry of big shots to finish the game in style in the end.

BRIEF SCORES

Rajasthan Royals: 152/9

Jos Buttler 51 (39), Mujeeb ur Rahman 3-27

Kings XI Punjab: 155/4 in 18.4 overs

KL Rahul 84no (54)

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KXIP v RR LIVE: KL Rahul leads Kings XI Punjab to impressive win

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Ashwin's men bowl first. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Kings XI Punjab take on Rajasthan Royals in an IPL clash at the Holkar stadium in Indore. The hosts started the season on fire but have stuttered recently. They will be desperate to regain momentum against the bottom-placed side in the league.

On the other hand, the Royals have been dismal in recent matches with nothing going their way as they continue their freefall. England all-rounder Ben Stokes has failed to deliver after becoming the most expensive overseas signing in the league while D’Arcy Short has also struggled for form.

For the hosts, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul have formed a lethal opening partnership and the two will be key to the side’s chances on Sunday.

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Live Cricket Blog: Rahul's sensational knock dashes Rajasthan Royals' hopes

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Denzil Pinto and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

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That was pure class from KL Rahul! The Kings XI Punjab opener scored a fine unbeaten 84 off just 54 deliveries to inflict a four-wicket loss on Rajasthan Royals. The Kings XI were chasing a target of 153 but Royals’ bowlers had made an impressive start to put the hosts in trouble before Rahul’s stunner took the wind out of their sails. Here are the talking points from the thrilling clash.

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