IPL: Rajasthan defeat Punjab to keep play-off hopes alive
Jaipur, May 9 - An impressive show by Rajasthan Royals' bowlers kept the side alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as they defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 15 runs at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Tuesday.
It was the host's bowlers, who helped their side defend a moderate 158 run total against the third-placed Punjab side.
Despite hunting a chaseable total, seven of the Punjab batsman didn't even touched the double digits and it was only their opener Lokesh Rahul, who single handedly fought till the last ball of the match, slamming an unbeaten 95 off 70 balls, laced with 11 fours and couple of sixes.
Chasing the target, Punjab were off to a poor start as off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham struck twice in the second over to pack back a dangerous Chris Gayle (1) and skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (0) with the visitors managing to reach just 14 runs.
Punjab's situation worsened further as Jofra Archer dismissed an in-form Karun Nair (3) to leave the visitors reeling at 17/4. Akshdeep Nath (9) then joined Rahul to add 26 runs for the fourth wicket, taking Punjab to 45 runs. However, just when the combination was settling, Ish Sodhi struck to make the damage bigger after sending back Akshdeep in the ninth over.
Manoj Tiwary and Rahul then tried to repair the damage but once again their effort went in vain as Tiwary gave an easy catch to Ajinkya Rahane off a Ben Stokes delivery in the 12th over. Despite wickets falling at regular intervals, Rahul kept one end secured but lacked support from others.