IPL 2014 – Review of match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals

Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals
Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals
Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals
Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals

Before the Kings XI Punjab took on one of the better sides of IPL 2014 in the Rajasthan Royals, they had suffered a loss against the Mumbai Indians at the very first match on their home ground. One felt that they would have been spurred on by it, and would be determined to win their second game at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. That is what exactly happened on May 23, and with this win the Kings XI Punjab have now ascended to the top position on the leader board.

Team composition: Punjab made several changes to the team that lost against Mumbai. They dropped Glenn Maxwell and brought in David Miller. Shivam Sharma and Sandeep Sharma were dropped and Karanveer Singh, a leg spinner, and Lakshmipathy Balaji were drafted in.

Rajasthan made a number of changes to the side that lost the previous game against Mumbai. They dropped Unmukt Chand, Ankit Sharma, Rajat Bhatia and Dhawal Kulkarni and brought in Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tewatia, Vikramjeet Malik and Pravin Tambe.

Batting: The Royals won the toss and chose to bat second. The Kings XI reached a competitive total of 179 for 4, thanks to Shaun Marsh, who top-scored 40 from 35 balls. However, all the other batsmen made small contributions that turned out to be important in the end. Manan Vohra scored 25 from 20 balls and Wriddhiman Saha got 27 from 20 balls. Miller (29 from 20) and skipper George Bailey (26 from 18) stayed unbeaten in the end to make sure that there were sufficient runs on the board.

Royals batted well but fell short by 16 runs in the end. James Faulkner was the highest scorer, with 35 not out from 13 balls, and Brad Hodge scored 31 from 18 balls. Up the order, Sanju Samson made an important contribution of 30 from 29 balls.

Bowling: Tewatia was the best performer with the ball for the RR, with 1 for 24. Malik (1 for 29) and Faulkner (1 for 39 in 3 overs) were expensive but took wickets. Kevon Cooper (none for 25) was economical. Shane Watson (none for 16 in 2 overs), and Tambe (none for 36) were off color and this affected them a lot.

Akshar Patel has now become the go to bowler in the KXIP outfit and once again ensured a win for his team, with 3 for 24 in 4 overs. Karanveer (2 for 16) and Rishi Dhawan (2 for 25) were exceptional and really made up for the inept displays of Balaji (1 for 37) and Beuran Hendricks (none for 57).

Where do the teams go from here?

The Kings XI Punjab would be mighty thrilled with how they have performed in this game. They have one final game coming up, where they will probably rotate their players and give an opportunity to the ones who are yet to play. However, they would still need to look at their policy of playing just 5 bowlers. They need to play Maxwell in the next game because he can chip in with some overs if needed. Hendricks’ lack of economy in this game could have proven dangerous but the others covered up for it. However, this may not happen every day, and that is why it is important to have some backup ready in the first eleven.

The Rajasthan Royals now stand on the cusp of something important – a playoff place in the IPL. They have, so far, done an admirable job in being courageous enough to provide every member in the team an opportunity to play and thus kept them ready. However, the next game is a crunch one, considering the Mumbai Indians are finding their head and a big victory for them could very well cost the team from Rajasthan its place in the playoffs. While the inclusion of Mumbai Indians would be a welcome one, it would also be sad to see the Rajasthan Royals not get there after playing so well in the tournament. This is why they need to play their best team in the next game and make sure that they are in the best position to win the critical match.

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