KXIP vs RR, IPL 2020: Royals’ batting collective eclipses ‘Gaylestorm’, snaps Kings’ streak

RR vs KXIP, IPL 2020 result: The top five come good to power Rajasthan home after the West Indian’s blistering 99 lifts Punjab to 185; Rahul’s men suffer first defeat in six games, but they, too, are still in the reckoning

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes after scoring a half-century off only 24 deliveries.   -  BCCI/IPL

The race for the playoffs remains wide open in IPL 2020. A magnificent chase by Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday ensured as much.

Steve Smith’s men won by seven wickets with 15 balls to spare. They now have 12 points, the same as KXIP and Kolkata Knight Riders.

It was a combined effort from the top-order that saw them through, as they reached the target of 186 with remarkable ease.

Chris Gayle’s 99 (63b, 6x4, 8x6) had given KXIP a competitive total after being put in, but contributions from Robin Uthappa (30), Ben Stokes (50, 26b, 6x4, 3x6), Sanju Samson (48, 25b, 4x4, 3x6), Smith (31 not out) and Jos Buttler (22 not out) took RR to a memorable victory.

As it happened

It was perhaps as accomplished a chase as any seen in this tournament, with the RR batsmen making sure that they were ahead of the asking rate for much of the innings.

The tone was set by Stokes, whose unbeaten hundred had given the team a badly needed win against Mumbai Indians in RR’s previous match. His fifty came off just 24 balls when he lofted England teammate Chris Jordan high over long-off. But after a dot ball, he found Deepak Hooda at mid-off, failing to generate enough power to clear him.

Uthappa, too, was shaping up well before he fell to M. Ashwin. After slog-sweeping the leg-spinner beautifully over deep mid-wicket for six, he attempted a similar shot only to be well caught near the boundary by Nicholas Pooran.

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Samson looked in great touch, playing some delectable shots square off the wicket before he was needlessly run out — by a direct hit from substitute fielder J. Suchith.

Earlier, the 41-year-old Gayle showed he still remained the boss of the T20 universe with some astonishing hits. He may have fallen one short of a seventh IPL hundred — bowled off his pad by Jofra Archer — but he passed another amazing milestone; his seventh six of the innings was his 1000th in T20 cricket.

But this match will likely be remembered more for the manner in which RR responded in another must-win situation.

Gayle fined 10 percent of match fee

Gayle has been fined 10 per cent of his match fee for breaching the IPL code of conduct during Kings XI Punjab’s contest against Rajasthan Royals here.

The IPL did not specify the exact incident for which he was penalised but it is understood Gayle was penalised for throwing his bat away in disgust after getting out for 99 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Friday night.

The Kings XI Punjab batsman has admitted to the offence and accepted the sanction.

Requiring a run to complete his century, Gayle was cleaned up by a Jofra Archer yorker in KXIP’s last over and, reacting to his dismissal, he tried to hit his bat on the ground in frustration but the willow slipped from his hand and landed a few metres across the pitch.

“Chris Gayle, the Kings XI Punjab batsman, has been fined 10 percent of his match-fee for breaching the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Rajasthan Royals at Abu Dhabi,” the IPL said in a statement.

“Mr Gayle admitted to the Level 1 offence 2.2 of the IPL’s Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction.

“For Level 1 breaches of the Code of Conduct, the Match Referee’s decision is final and binding,” it added.

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