Ajinkya Rahane © AFP
Ajinkya Rahane © AFP

Match 40 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 saw Rajasthan Royals (RR) settle scores with Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) with a 15-run victory at Jaipur. Defending 159, RR couldn’t prevent Rahul from scoring 95* and claiming the Orange Cap, but made sure he never got support at the other end. KXIP meandered to 143 for 7 after RR posted 158 for 8. While Jos Buttler had scored 82 for RR, the victory was really set up by a collective bowling effort.

Ajinkya Rahane handled his bowlers well. He started with Krishnappa Gowtham, who removed Chris Gayle and Ravichandran Ashwin inside 3 balls. Then Ish Sodhi’s tight spell (4-0-14-1) titled the game further. Rahane looked a relieved man at the post-match presentation: “Really happy the way we played. I thought 160 was good here. Credit to the bowlers, the way they bowled. Powerplay overs were crucial. Sodhi in the middle overs was fantastic. We thought keeping an attacking mindset will help us. KG bowled really well, getting Gayle and Ashwin.”

RR move to the sixth spot by virtue of this win after languishing at the bottom for some time. However, Rahane is aware of the fact that the team cannot afford to get complacent: “It’s important that we enjoy this victory, forget this and move forward. I was confused (at the toss) but putting runs on the board helped us. We want to play good cricket through all 40 overs.”

With this defeat, KXIP have needlessly thrown themselves into a pickle. While they are still in the top four, they need to be wary of the way the teams in the lower half are getting momentum. RR, on the other hand, have 4 games left, 2 of which will be at home. They will be eager to make the most of their home fixtures.