AHMEDABAD: In one of the most pulsating ‘Super Over’ contests, a first in this edition of Indian Premier League cricket tournament, Kings XI Punjab edged out Rajasthan Royals to hand them their first defeat after five straight wins.
After both teams were locked at 191, KXIP scored 15 as Shaun Marsh belted Chris Morris for three consecutive boundaries. In reply, Mitchell Johnson yorked Shane Watson with a brilliant delivery first up while Wriddhiman Saha kept his cool to run James Faulkner out as KXIP broke their three match losing streak in one of the most thrilling contests.
Needing 5 runs off the final delivery off James Faulkner, Axar Patel sliced it towards backward point for a boundary as it entered the ‘Super Over’ with both teams tied on 191.
Needing 14 runs off the final over, Mitchell Johnson and Patel getting two runs each off four of the earlier five deliveries.
Miller was back in his element as his scintillating 54 off 30 balls with five sixes was one of the primary reasons for KXIP chasing down a more than decent score after Marsh’s 40-ball-65 set the platform.
Chasing a commanding target of 192, KXIP got off to a worst possible start as stand-in captain Virender Sehwag (2) failed to beat Steve Smith’s direct throw from wide mid-off.
Murali Vijay (21) hit a glorious straight six off Stuart Binny and another one off Praveen Tambe before was unfortunately run-out backing up too far when Marsh’s shot was collected by leggie Rahul Tewatia, who broke the stumps.
Glenn Maxwell (1) dreadful IPL continued as he miscued a Tewatia delivery that had more bounce and Smith stationed at deep mid-wicket made no mistake.
While Marsh was in silken touch, he was not getting the required support from the other end.
He found the gaps with ease and in Tewatia found a bowler he can hit at will as he completed his half-century off 32 balls with a down the ground six.
When Miller joined Marsh, there was a semblance of some partnership building as the 100 came in 13 overs with the South African hitting James Faulkner for a six over deep mid-wicket.
The 58-run stand ended when Marsh trying to hit Tambe for six ended up being caught by Rahane in the deep as KXIP were 117 for four.
Earlier, Rahane’s classical assault enabled Rajasthan Royals to pile up a decent 191 for six after being put into bat by rival captain Sehwag.
Rahane smashed his way to 74 off 54 balls with six boundaries and two sixes as he laid the foundation for a reasonable total adding 95 for the opening wicket with skipper Shane Watson (45 off 35 balls, 5×4, 2×6).
Karun Nair 25 off 12 balls also provided some muscle along with Stuart Binny who clipped 12 off four balls.
Axar Patel was the pick of the bowlers with two for 30.
It was Rahane, who set the tone with a flurry of boundaries as Watson was content playing the singles and giving more strike to the India international.
Out of his first five boundaries, Rahane hit four off Mitchell Johnson, which included, a pull, couple of cut shots and a whip over square leg as he raced into the 20’s.
Watson, initially was trying to get into the groove as he consumed 24 balls which yielded 18 runs with two boundaries.
It was the ninth over of the Rajasthan Royals innings when Watson decided to tee off launching into off-break bowler Shivam Sharma.
Watson hit the Delhi lad for three boundaries and a six to race to 36. Another six off Patel got him into 40’s as he looked for his second successive half-century in as many matches.
It took an inspirational piece of glovework from Wriddhiman Saha that saw him get back to dug-out when he missed an armer from Axar and Saha effected a leg-side stumping with effortless ease.
Once Watson was gone, it was young Deepak Hooda (19 off 9 balls), who immediately sent Glenn Maxwell’s friendly off-breaks into the stands as Rahane completed his half-century with a six over square-leg off Anureet Singh.
Shivam, who got tonked all around had the consolation of cleaning up Hooda while Steve Smith (0) was holed out at deep mid-wicket off Axar’s bowling.
Rahane however continued with clean hitting in company of the very talented Karun Nair.
Finally, when Johnson got him to edge one caught by a diving Saha, Rahane had done his job as Nair produced a final flourish.
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