Rajasthan posted 158/8, which looked a gettable total. Opener Jos Buttler was the batting mainstay as he hit 82 from 58 balls, scoring more than half the team’s runs.
In reply, Kings XI never got going with only KL Rahul (95 not out) putting up a fight. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (1-14 from four overs) and off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham (2-12 from three) gave nothing away as Ajinkya Rahane’s team restricted the visitors to 143/7.
BUTTLER SERVES UP A TREAT
Rajasthan opener Jos Buttler can be devastating when he gets going. On Tuesday, it was the turn of Kings XI Punjab bowlers to face the music as the Englishman dispatched nine boundaries and one six during his 58-ball 82. The next highest score was 22, which meant Buttler scored more than half the team’s 158.
It was another poor day in the office with the bat for Ben Stokes, putting even more pressure on Buttler to deliver. That has been the case this season and Buttler has been up to the task, scoring 320 runs in 10 matches.
ANDREW AND MUJEEB ‘TYE’ ROYALS DOWN
Wickets are the best way to keep the opposition quiet and seamer Andrew Tye and Afghan spinner Mujeeb Rahman did just that. Mujeeb accounted for the dangerous Sanju Samson (22) and then had Buttler stumped in the 17th over.
Tye (4-34) took all four wickets through his knuckle ball/slower ball variation. Three wickets in the final over meant Rajasthan finished at least 10 runs short.
ASHWIN EXPERIMENT FAILS
Know it won't be asked but why was Ashwin batting at 3 must be questioned. There's one thing gambling and one thing being naive.— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) May 8, 2018
After off-spinner Gowtham got opener Chris Gayle stumped down the leg side, Kings XI captain Ravi Ashwin promoted himself up to No3. The off-spinner has four Test hundreds but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is suited for T20 top-order batting.
Ashwin went for an expansive drive in the second ball to be comprehensively bowled by Gowtham. Not everyone can be Sunil Narine.
RAHUL FIGHTS A LONE BATTLE
KL Rahul had no support from his team mates. Two back to back games where he has played from start to beginning with today scoring 70% of KXIP runs himself. Team India T20 future opener? #IPL— cricBC (@cricBC) May 8, 2018
Opener KL Rahul is pretty much carrying Kings XI’s batting on his shoulders. Gayle has been in good nick this IPL but on Tuesday, departed after charging at spinner Gowtham and losing his balance to be stumped.
Rahul then shifted down a gear as he concentrated on holding the innings together. Not a single Punjab top-order batsman managed to reach double figures as Kings XI’s innings too turned out to be a one-man show like Rajasthan’s.
Rahul opened his shoulders towards the end, but with 46 needed from the last 10 balls, the contest was pretty much over.
SODHI AND GOWTHAM SPIN THEIR MAGIC
Ludhiana born Ish Sodhi takes his first IPL wicket against a team from Punjab. Nice! #RRvKXIP— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) May 8, 2018
Not only was Kiwi leg-spinner Sodhi a late addition to the IPL, Tuesday was only his second match of the tournament. On a Jaipur wicket that offered help even to finger spinners, Sodhi was unplayable.
The leg-spinner got sharp turn and proved impossible to negotiate. His bowling figures of 1-14 look even more impressive when you consider the fact that he did not conceded a single boundary, even with Rahul batting with control. The wicket of Akshdeep Nath was just reward for a tremendous bowling effort from Sodhi.
Gowtham was equally impressive, even beating the inside edge of Rahul on the drive. The two spinners combined for figures of 3-26 from seven overs to put the match beyond Kings XI.
In their previous clash, Kings XI sailed past Royals by six wickets with KL Rahul hitting an unbeaten 84 chasing 153.
On Tuesday, Rajasthan Royals batted first and posted 158-8 with Jos Buttler top-scoring with 82.
That total proved beyond Kings XI as they managed 143-7. Opener KL Rahul fought valiantly, scoring 95 not out but it wasn’t enough.
For Rajasthan, Kiwi leg spinner Ish Sodhi finished with spectacular figures of 1-14 from his four overs.
Catch all the live action from Tuesday’s match here.
While it is Mumbai Indians who have had their backs to the wall, the tide seems to be turning for Rohit Sharma’s team. They have moved up the table with four wins from 10 matches and are beginning to click together in the batting and bowling departments.
The Knight Riders, however, have a few issues to tackle. While the current Mumbai Indians team is pretty much the best unit they can field, the same can’t be said about Kolkata.
Team combination, especially in the bowling department, is the biggest issue facing Dinesh Karthik.
Knight Riders’ Mitchell Johnson is still bowling quick but is proving to be cannon fodder on Indian wickets. Young Indian pacer Shivam Mavi has provided a lot of energy but he was replaced by tall quick Prasidh Krishna in the last game against Mumbai after injuring his finger.
The second half of the season is where Mumbai generally come into their own. This season has been no different. After winning three out of their last four matches, Mumbai will be feeling buoyant as they are in familiar territory during the business end of the IPL.
Players in focus
Chris Lynn has batted more cautiously than usual this IPL as he doesn’t want to push his injury ravaged body –especially his shoulder – past its limit. However, the Knight Riders could do with a bit more grunt at the top of the order. They moved Sunil Narine down the order, which puts the onus on Lynn to be as adventurous as he possibly can.
Hardik Pandya is the cog that holds the Mumbai team together. He is a match-winner with the bat and ball and proved his credentials in the previous match against Kolkata – scoring 35 and picking up 2-19. Another such effort and Kolkata will find it next to impossible to find a way out.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Tom Curran
Mumbai Indians: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, JP Duminy, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah