Some big hitting from the mighty Chris Gayle had helped Kings XI post a commanding total of 184-4 after being made to bat first by Ajinkya Rahane.
In response, Rajasthan came out all guns blazing with Jos Buttler playing a blinder but his controversial dismissal ultimately paved the way for a first-ever Kings XI victory over the Royals in Jaipur.
At the end of a match that will long be talked about for the wrong reasons, we look at the key talking points.
GAYLE LIFTS OFF BUT SARFARAZ PROVIDES FLOURISH
It was Chris Gayle time once again in the IPL with the West Indies opener wasting no time in stamping his authority on the league.
Once Gayle found his groove, there was no looking back for him as he took Rajasthan’s bowlers to the cleaners. The veteran batsman ultimately fell for a 48-ball 79 but unlike last season where Kings XI would collapse following his or KL Rahul’s dismissal, there would be no middle-order stumble for the franchise this time around.
Young Sarfaraz Khan, who was discarded by Royal Challengers Bangalore after a fruitless 2018 season, showed why he was once considered to be one of the brightest young batting talents in India with an unbeaten 29-ball 46 filled with some inventive strokes.
Sweeping powerfully against the spinners while bringing out some unique scoop shots against the pacers, the 21-year-old did not let the momentum given by Gayle dissipate with some lusty hits in the death overs.
ASHWIN MANKADS BUTTLER
Jos Buttler continued from where he left off in the 2018 edition for Rajasthan with another brisk half-century at the top of the order. The Englishman was in the mood from ball one at Jaipur as he raced away to a 29-ball half century.
With the way Buttler was going, Kings XI were running out of ideas to contain the Royals opener as the game was slipping away from them quickly. It was out of this desperation that Punjab skipper Ravi Ashwin resorted to the unthinkable in the 13th over of the innings by ‘Mankading’ Buttler.
Stopping at the bowling crease in his delivery stride, Ashwin dislodged the bails at the non-striker’s end and immediately went up in appeal. Replays showed Buttler was well short of his crease and the Englishman was duly sent on his way according to the letter of the law. However, that dismissal left a sour taste in the mouth and the frustration on Buttler’s face was evident.
It was an incident that turned out to be the turning point with the game’s momentum completely changing in the overs to follow.
It was hard to see a Kings XI victory when Buttler was going great guns at the crease but that all changed after the Englishman’s controversial dismissal. From a position of strength at 148-3, Rajasthan collapsed dramatically under the run-rate pressure with Steve Smith unable to take the side home on his IPL return.
The Aussie batsman looked like he was finding form but he and Sanju Samson fell in the same over to an otherwise expensive Sam Curran to give Kings XI a window of opportunity. The visitors made no mistake in then seizing the initiative with Mujeeb ur Rahman dismissing Ben Stokes and Pankaj Tripathi in the very next over.
Krishannapa Gowtham was unable to repeat his 2018 heroics as Rajasthan’s innings ran out of steam just when they needed to put their foot on the accelerator.
Kings XI Punjab: 184-4
Chris Gayle: 79 (47)
Sarfaraz Khan: 46 not out (29)
Rajasthan Royals: 170-9
Jos Buttler: 69 (43)
Mujeeb ur Rahman: 2-33
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