By Joe Grant
Rajasthan Royals take on Kings XI Punjab in a hugely decisive match in the Indian Premier League. The Royals need to win their last two games to stand a chance of replacing Kings XI in the top four places and making the playoffs. The Royals have struggled so far this season, but strolled to victory against The Mumbai Indians in their last game. Kings XI also started slowly, but have won their last five games in a row, which has taken them into fourth place in the table.
The Royals make one change, with Varun Aaron coming into the side for Ankit Rajpoot. Robin Uthappa and Ben Stokes open the batting; the Durham all-rounder comes into the game on the back of a glorious century against Mumbai. KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh open the batting for Kings XI, who are unchanged from their 8 wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders.
Over 0.6′ Wicket!!!
The electric Jofra Archer starts the game brilliantly for The Royals! The Englishman’s fifth ball of the innings is a fearsome bouncer at Mandeep Singh and the Kings XI opener can’t live with the sheer pace of Archer, causing him to fend the ball straight up in the air, for a diving Ben Stokes to take a brilliant, low catch. Kings XI end the first over 1/1; Chris Gayle is the next man in for Kings XI.
Over 1.6′ Four Runs!!
The ‘Universe Boss’ is finally off the mark, after struggling to get the ball away from Aaron’s first five deliveries. The ball flies off the inside edge and past The Royals wicketkeeper to the boundary. The Kings XI end the second over on 9/1.
Over 2.2′ Four Runs!!
The brilliant Rahul reaches 600 runs for the tournament; Archer bowls the ball back of a length just outside off stump and Rahul cuts the ball over Stokes at point and it flies away to the boundary. Kings XI end the third over on 14/1.
Over 3.3′ Six runs!!!
Aaron’s short-pitched delivery is pulled leg side by the powerful Gayle for six over square leg; the ball just creeps over the boundary and Kings XI have their first six of the match.
Over 3.4′ Dropped Catch!
Gayle goes for another huge pull shot, but instead top edges the ball straight up in the air. The ball is swirling for what seems like an eternity and Riyan Parag eventually puts the huge chance down; Aaron is not happy, as the Kings XI run two. Kings XI end the fourth over on 24/1.
Over 4.2′ Four runs!
The young seamer Kartik Tyagi comes in to the attack and almost instantly Gayle shows his power; the left-hander bludgeons the ball over mid-off, for a one-bounce four.
Over 4.3′ Six runs!!!
Gayle powers a pull shot over cow corner, for his second maximum of the game. What a shot that is from the West Indian batsmen; he looks to be targeting the young Tyagi.
Over 4.4′ Four runs !!!
The destructive Gayle scores his third boundary in as many balls; he delicately places a drive through the offside, for another four runs. Kings XI end the fifth over on 39/1.
Over 5.2′ Huge Six!!!
Rahul joins in on the act! The opener launches the ball far into the stands, from an Aaron short ball, for his first six of the game; that has gone miles! Can we have a new ball please?
Over 5.6′ Four runs!!
Rahul flicks the ball in the air, but it is perfectly placed between the two Royals fielders and the ball flies away to the leg side boundary for four. That boundary ends a good powerplay for Kings XI; they end it on 53/1, with Gayle on 27 from 17 balls and Rahul on 21 from 19 balls.
Over 6.4′ Out of the ground!!!
Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, is welcomed into the attack in typical Gayle style! The left hander launches a huge slog sweep into the leg side and out of the ground! That is the bigger side of the ground, but it is not a problem for the huge hitting Gayle!
Over 6.6′ Time out!
The Royals take the opportunity to gather themselves, by taking the CEAT strategic timeout. They will be massively regretting that dropped chance from Gayle, who has gone on to take The Royals bowlers apart, in his typical fashion. Kings XI finish the sixth over on 63/1.
Over 7.2′ Four runs!!
All-rounder Stokes comes in to the attack, but he receives the same punishment from Gayle. The Englishman bowls a slower ball, which deceives Gayle catching his outside edge, but the ball flies just past Sanju Samson behind the stumps for another boundary. Kings XI end the eighth over 71/1, in a very dominant position.
Over 8.6′ Tewatia Stems the flow!
The spinner Rahul Tewatia comes into the attack and bowls an extremely tight over for just two runs, exactly what the Royals needed. Gayle is unable to get the all-rounder away and The Royals stem the run flow. Kings XI finish the ninth over on 73/1.
Over 9.2′ Six runs!!! What a shot!!
The magnificent Rahul produces an incredible shot over cover for six; the Indian batsman has been finding the middle of the bat with ease throughout the tournament and today seems no different.
Over 9.6′ Great comeback from Tyagi!
The youngster Tyagi produces a great comeback for the rest of the over, after that six from Rahul. Kings XI reach the halfway stage of their innings in a great position to reach a huge total; the in-form side are 81/1 after ten overs.
Over 10.3′ Six runs!!! Fifty for Gayle!!
What an innings from Gayle! The age-old performer smashes the ball with ease over the long-on boundary. That huge hit brings up his third 50 of the tournament from just 33 balls
Over 10.4′ Missed Chance!!
Gayle goes for another massive blow, but instead the ball goes straight up in the air. Tewatia and Stokes start to go for the catch but there is some confusion over who should catch it; Stokes pulls out and Tewatia can’t quite reach the ball and the chance is gone. Kings XI finish the eleventh over on 91/1.
Over 10.6′ Solid from Stokes!
Stokes manages to keep Kings quiet for an over and produces a rare boundary-free over for The Royals. Gayle smashes a venomous pull shot on the last ball over, but it flies straight to the fielder on the boundary. Kings XI end the 11th over on 96/1.
Over 12.4′ Yet another Six!
Gayle launches yet another strike down the ground, this time from Tewatia’s bowling. Gayle’s heart would have been in his mouth, as the ball headed towards Stokes at long-on, but the ball edges just over his head, for yet another maximum. That blow brings up Kings XI hundred; they finish the twelfth over 107/1.
Over 13.2′ Four runs!
Steve Smith brings strike bowler Archer back into the attack, looking to break this huge partneship. However, Rahul has other ideas and flicks the ball off his pads for another four runs.
Over 13.4′ 4 runs!
Gayle looks to heave another massive shot into the leg side, but the ball flies off his huge inside edge and past fine leg, for another Kings XI boundary. Kings XI take 11 runs from Archer’s third over, bringing their total to 118, with nine wickets still in hand.
Over 14.4′ Wicket!!! Breakthrough for The Royals!!
Rahul can’t quite reach his half-century! The opener looks to launch Stokes into the stands, but does not quite catch enough of the ball and Tewatia takes an easy catch on the boundary. That is a huge breakthrough for The Royals, after a huge partnership for the second wicket. Nicolas Pooran joins his fellow West Indian Gayle, at the crease.
Over 14.5′ Important over from Stokes!
Stokes finishes the over with a dot ball to Pooran. The Englishman limits Kings XI to five from the 15th over, along with the wicket of KL Rahul. Kings XI finish the 15th over on 123/2.
Over 15.4′ Six runs!!!
Pooran almost instantly shows his power-hitting! The left hander strikes the ball over the square leg boundary, for another Kings XI six, from Aaron’s bowling.
Over 15.6′ No ball! Six Runs!
The over looks to be finished, but the dreaded buzzer goes off for a no-ball; What a huge mistake from Aaron! Pooran then punishes the fast bowler, launching the extra ball over cover for his second six of the over.
Over 16.6′ Six runs!!
Tyagi bowls five brilliant deliveries, but the last ball of the over is a few inches short of the blockhole and Pooran makes him pay in. The extremely powerful left hander powers the ball down the ground for six. Kings finish the over on 148/2.
Over 17.1′ Four runs!!!
Stokes bowls the ball right into Gayle’s perfect arc and the ‘Universe Boss’ does not miss out; he smashes the ball straight to the boundary for four.
Over 17.4′ Six runs!!!
The Royals must be really regretting the drop of Gayle right at the start of the innings! The powerful batsmen moves into his eighties, with another six; he does not even seem to put any effort into the shot, but the ball sails over Buttler’s head.
Over 17.4′ Wicket!!!
Stokes has his second wicket of the night! Pooran looks to crash another huge strike over the boundary ropes, but instead he picks out the grateful Tewatia, who does well to hold on and not step on the rope. The Kings XI number three departs for twenty and Kings XI finish the 18th over on 162/3.
Over 18.2′ Four runs!!! No-ball!!
Glenn Maxwell comes in at number five and instantly hits a boundary! Tyagi bowls a no-ball above waist height and Maxwell does not miss out, flicking the ball past fine-leg for four! However, the Australian can’t make the most of the free hit and Tyagi gets another dot ball.
Over 18.5′ One Thousand T20 sixes for Gayle!!!
What an achievement for the 41 year old! Tyagi looks to see out the rest of the over, but Gayle launches the ball over the leg side for his thousandth T20 six! Kings XI finish the nineteenth over on 176/2.
19.2′ Another dropped chance!!
Archer bowls the ball at Maxwell’s legs and the Australian flicks it towards Aaaron at fine leg, but he can’t quite hold on to the catch and The Royals put down yet another chance.
Over 19.3′ Six runs!!!
Gayle launches a massive six over the leg side, after Archer bowled a full toss, which the power hitter does not miss out on. The huge hit takes ‘The Universe Boss’ to 99, with three balls left for him to reach his hundred!
Over 19.4′ Wicket!!! Gayle goes for 99!
The number 333 is fuming! He launches his bat across the pitch in frustration! Archer bowls full and straight and sends the stumps flying. Gayle has to go for 99, what a frustrating end for the ever-present batsman; he becomes the only player in IPL history to have two scores of 99.
Over 19.6′ Dot ball!
Archer finishes the innings with a dot ball! Just 9 from the last over, leaves Archer with figures of 2/26 from his four overs. Gayle top-scored for the in form Kings XI with 96, followed by 46 from KL Rahul and a quick-fire 22 from Pooran. Kings XI post a very respectable score of 185/4, from their twenty overs; can The Royals chase it down?
Uthappa is facing the first delivery from Arshdeep Singh
Over 0.6′ Four runs!!
Stokes wastes no time imposing himself on Arshdeep Singh and dances down the pitch, before lifting the ball down the ground, over mid-on, for the Royals first boundary of the game. The Royals end the first over 9/0.
1.2′ Four runs!
Stokes is starting this innings in exactly the same fashion as his last against Mumbai Indians. The opener powers the ball from back of a length, through the covers for another four runs.
1.4′ Close chance!
Stokes is almost gone! He mistimes a pull shot towards mid on; Maxwell throws himself forward towards the ball but can’t quite gather a difficult chance.
1.6′ Six runs!
Uthappa scores his first boundary of the innings! Mohamed Shami bowls the ball on his legs and Uthappa picks the shot up off his legs and it flies over the ropes and into the stands. The Royals end the second over 21/0.
2.2′ Four runs!
Stokes is really going after young bowler Arshdeep Singh! The ball is short-pitched and Stokes beautifully swivels and pulls the ball hard leg side, past Jimmy Neesham for four runs.
2.5′ Four runs!
Stokes backs away towards the leg side, to open up room on the offside; Arshdeep Singh tries to follow Stokes, but the Englishman is equal to it and he tickles the ball down the leg side and past fine leg for another four runs. The Royals end the 3rd over 32/0; a brilliant start to the run chase.
Over 3.3′ Four runs!
Kings bring spinner Murugan Ashwin on and Stokes immediately looks to attack; after he attempts at trying to lift the balls over the tight-in offside field, he finally catches hold of a reverse sweep, which runs away to the boundary.
Over 3.4′ Six runs!
Another boundary for Stokes! The left-hander advances down the wicket and launches the ball down the ground for 6.
Over 3.5′ Another Six!
Stokes continues his excellent hitting! The Englishman gets down on one knee and slog sweeps the ball over the leg side and into the stands once again! Stokes moves to 39 from just 19 balls and The Royals are 48/0 of the first four overs, after 16 runs from that over; they are showing great intent in this run chase.
4.2′ Four runs!
What a stunning cricket shot from Stokes! The confidence seems to flowing through his body right now; the England all-rounder backs away to the leg side and drives Shami’s delivery powerfully through the offside. Brilliant from Stokes, who moves into his 40’s.
Over 4.6′ Almost a wicket!
Uthappa almost chips the ball straight to Chris Jordan at long-on, but the ball drops just short of the fielder and he is safe. The Royals end the fifth over on 54/0; Kings XI were 39/1 at this stage.
Over 5.1′ Six runs! Stokes Fifty!
Stokes welcomes fellow Englishman Jordan into the attack, with a wonderful shot down the ground for six! That shot brings up Stokes’ 50 in just 24 balls; he is on fire!
Over 5.3′ Wicket!
50 and out! Stokes looks to power yet another boundary down the ground, but he doesn’t quite get hold of the shot and the ball falls perfectly into Deepak Hooda’s hands at mid off. What a cameo from Stokes, who’s quickfire 50 has got The Royals off to a flyer.
Over 5.6′ 4 runs!
Samson comes in and continues from where Stokes left off! He smashes a cut shot through the offside for four, after Jordan’s delivery gave him a bit of width outside off stump. The Royals end the powerplay with a brilliant start of 66/1, with the required rate at 8.57.
Over 6.6′ Tight over from Murugan Ashwin!
Murugan Ashwin produces a vital tight over for Kings XI, with just Five runs coming from the over. The Royals will look to not let the spin bowlers rest in these key middle overs.
Over 7.6′ Four runs!
Uthappa plays a perfectly placed reverse sweep, which dissects the Kings XI field and rolls away to the boundary for Four. The Royals end the Eighth over in a strong position in this pivotal run chase, with 79/1 on the scoreboard.
Over 8.1′ Six runs! Out of the Ground!
What a massive hit from Samson! Arshdeep Singh bowls a length delivery, which Samson rocks back to and launches the ball out of the ground for his first Six of the innings.
Over 8.6′ Four runs!
Samson plays the ball extremely late and gets a slight edge on the ball, sending it flying past the Wicket Keeper for another Four runs; frustration for Arshdeep Singh. The Royals are in a very good position, with the score at 93/1, as they end the Ninth over.
Over 9.3′ Raining sixes for Samson!
Samson smashes yet another Six down the ground off Bishnoi, to bring up The Royals 100, with Nine wickets left. What power from The Royals number Three batsman. The Royals take 10 from the over and they are perfectly placed on 103/1, halfway through their run chase.
Over 10.4′ Six runs!
What a shot from Uthappa! The opener has had enough of knocking the ball around and slog sweeps the ball cleanly, straight over the ropes for Six.
Over 10.5′ Wicket!
Uthappa looks to play the exact same shot off Murugan Ashwin’s bowling, but this time he picks out Pooran at cow corner perfectly, who makes no mistake with the catch. The opener has to go for 30, with captain Smith replacing him at the crease. The Royals finish the 11th over on 112/2; can Smith see his side home?
Over 11.2′ Four runs!
Smith keeps up the tempo of the innings; he strikes the ball with venom through cow corner, to the boundary for his first Four of the innings.
Over 11.6′ Great comeback from Bishnoi!
Bishnoi does well to limit the over to just Seven runs, after the Four from Smith; The Royals need 67 runs from the last Eight overs to win; they end the 12th over on 119/2. The game is in The Royals’ hands.
Over 12.5′ Six runs!
What a huge shot from Samson! Almost out the ground! Murugan Ashwin drags the ball down and Samson punishes him, with a massive Six over the leg side boundary.
Over 12.6′ Four runs!
Murugan Ashwin gives Samson too much width and he does not miss out! The young Indian cuts the ball through point, for yet another boundary. The Royals need just 54 from 42 balls, to record their second victory in a row.
Over 13.3′ 4 runs!
Samson moves closer to his half century; the young player tickles the ball off his pads down the leg side to the boundary. He is showing that consistency that many people have asked from him throughout the tournament.
Over 13.6′ 4 runs!
The royals are flying! Jordan bowls a full toss, aiming for the yorker and Smith edges it just pass Rahul behind the stumps and the ball races away to the boundary. The Royals sit pretty on 144/2, with 8 wickets still in the tank.
Over 14.2′ Wicket! Run out!
The Royals seem to have complete control of the match, but is this the opening for Kings XI? Samson hesitates after Smith called the run and a direct hit, leaves him well short of his ground. Samson has to go, just short of his half century, after a brilliant knock. The dangerous Jos Buttler joins Smith at the crease.
Over 14.4′ Review!
Kings XI ambitiously review an LBW decision after the ball strikes Buttler on the pads, but the ball pitched outside leg stump and Kings XI waste their review. What an over from Bishnoi, with just Two runs from it and the wicket of Samson. The Royals require 40 from the last Five overs for victory.
Over 15.6′ Six runs!
Huge shot from Buttler! Jordan had bowled Five brilliant deliveries going for just Four runs, before Buttler dispatched the final ball of the over for his first Six of the innings; what a shot!
Over 16.1′ Four runs!
Smith plays an extraordinary shot over the off side, which reaches the boundary with one-bounce.
Over 16.2′ Four runs!
Smith is starting to look like the player everyone knows he is! He lifts a straight ball over the leg side field, to score another one-bounce Four. The Royals look sure to finish this run chase off.
Over 16.4′ Four runs!
Delicate from Smith! The Australian pre-empts a full ball from Shami and gets down on one knee, before playing the ramp shot perfectly over fine-leg, to strike his third boundary of the over. The captain is really leading his side home!
Over 16.6′ Another Four runs!
Buttler looks to finish this game as soon as possible! He follows Smith’s example and lifts the ball over the leg side for Four to make it 19 from the 17th over of the game. The Royals require just 11 runs from the last Three overs to keep their qualifying hopes alive.
Over 17.2′ Six runs!
That is absolutely massive! Jordan bowls the ball right in the slot and Buttler does not pass it up; he cracks the ball down the ground and into the upper tier of the stands. The Royals are almost there, they require just Three for victory.
Over 17.4′ Victory for the Rajasthan Royals!
Jordan bowls a wide and the Royals win the game by Seven wickets, to keep their hopes of qualifying alive. Smith (31) and Buttler (22) directed the Royals home, after brilliant performances from Stokes (50) and Samson (48) put the side in an amazing permission to win the game. Despite an impressive 99 from Gayle, Kings XI weren’t able to win their sixth game in a row. Kings XI bowlers were never really able to control The Royals, or take wickets. The Royals win takes them to 12 points, level with Kings XI; if Royals win their last game against Kolkata Knight Riders they will give themselves a chance of qualifying.