The last seven overs yielded just 45 runs for Punjab at the loss of five wickets, which shows the Royals’ efforts. Kevon Cooper was the star for the visitors, whose slower deliveries got him three wickets.
Earlier, spinner Ajit Chandila, who opened the bowling for Rajasthan, got a wicket in the first over itself as Mandeep Singh provided him a simple return catch. Chandila almost sent Gilchrist packing in his next over, although it wouldn’t have fetched them a lot of points in the Fairplay table.
Marsh tapped Chandila towards mid-on and the two batsmen contemplated a single before good sense prevailed. As Gilchrist walked back to his crease at the non-striker’s end, the throw from James Faulkner came straight towards his ribs. As Gilly took reflexive measures to prevent the ball from hitting him, Chandila picked up the ball, whipped off the bails and vociferously appealed to the umpire with Gilchrist short of his crease.
Gilchrist wasn’t amused and even showed his bat to Chandila while letting him know exactly how he felt about it. Eventually, it took the saintly Royals skipper, Rahul Dravid, to intervene and withdraw the appeal, before apologising to Gilchrist.
With that settled, Gilchrist and Marsh went on to forge a formidable partnership — Punjab’s best in the top order for a long time. The KXIP skipper, back in the team after being dropped for three games, had said at the toss that the team had left David Miller “too much to do in the last few games”.
Gilly and Marsh did their best to ensure the pressure was taken off Miller, piling up a 102-run partnership before the former gave a return catch to Kevon Cooper. David Hussey (1) did not last long, which brought Miller to the crease with more than five overs to go.
However, Marsh took most of the strike and temporarily ressurected the innings before allowing Cooper to shatter his woodwork to make it 136 for four. Miller, to the Punjab crowd’s surprise, did not rescue his team for a change as he gave Cooper his third wicket in the same over.
Rajasthan leaked just 10 runs in the last two overs and picked up three wickets, as KXIP were left to rue what could have been.
Kings XI Punjab 145 for 6 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 77, Adam Gilchrist 42; Kevon Cooper 3 for 23) vs Rajasthan Royals.