RR beat KXIP. (Source: BCCI)

Thanks to a superb batting effort, Rajasthan Royals defeated Kings XI Punjab easily in the 50 th match of IPL 2020 played at Sheikh Zayed International Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith won the toss and decided to field first. The decision paid off as Jofra Archer got an early breakthrough dismissing Mandeep Singh with stunning catch by Ben Stokes diving forward. Chris Gayle came to the crease and put the RR bowlers under pressure. RR dropped a golden chance to dismiss Gayle as Riyan Parag could not judge the catch.

KL Rahul looked steady with his stroke play and gave most of the strike to Gayle. At the end of the first six overs, Kings XI Punjab made 53 for 1. It was a good batting display by both KXIP batsmen. Kings XI Punjab ended the first timeout at 63 for 1.

Chris Gayle made the batting look easy and completed his fifty off 33 balls. KL Rahul struggled with his timing while Gayle showed his class with attacking stroke play. Ben Stokes provided the breakthrough for RR getting rid of KL Rahul. Rahul and Gayle added 120 runs for the 2 nd wicket.

Nicolas Pooran took the attack to RR bowlers with big hits including a six off a no-ball. At the end of the second timeout, Kings XI Punjab made 137 for 2. It was amazing hitting by Gayle and Pooran who looked in decent touch. A superb catch by Tewaita at the boundary ended the innings for Pooran.

Pooran and Gayle added 41 runs for the 3 rd wicket. Gayle achieved the milestone of hitting 1000 sixes in T20 cricket. Jofra Archer bowled a stunning last over grabbing Chris Gayle’s wicket for 99. At the end of the 20 overs, Kings XI Punjab posted 185 for 4 in 20 overs.

Chasing 186 runs to win, Ben Stokes looked in great touch right from word go putting pressure on the KXIP opening bowlers. Stokes played with positive intent and never allowed Kings XI bowlers to settle while Uthappa gave most of the strike to Stokes. Stokes completed his fifty off just 24 balls.

Chris Jordan provided the much-needed wicket of Stokes finding mid-off. RR openers put on 60 runs. At the end of the first six overs, RR raced away to 66 for 1.

Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa took the attack to Kings XI Punjab bowlers keeping the momentum going. At the end of the first timeout, RR scored 93 for 1. Both batsmen continued their aggressive approach making life tough for KXIP bowlers. Murgun Ashwin dismissed dangerous Robin Uthappa for a quickfire 30 off 23 balls. Uthappa and Samson added 51 runs for the 2 nd wicket.

Steve Smith started the innings off to a great start. Sanju Samson made the batting look at ease and kept momentum going on. Samson was run out with a superb direct hit by Suchith. Samson and Smith added 51 runs for the 3 rd wicket.

At the end of the second timeout, RR scored 146 for 3. Jos Buttler smashed 19 runs off Mohammed Shami’s over to seal match for RR. Rajasthan Royals won the match easily by 7 wickets with 15 balls to spare.

With this win, RR stay alive in the tournament. For his all-round contribution, Ben Stokes was named the man of the match award.

RR 186 for 3 in 17.3 overs (Stokes 50, Samson 48, M Ashwin 1/43) beat KXIP 185 for 4 in 20 overs (Gayle 99, Rahul 46, Archer 2/26, Stokes 2/32) by 7 wickets.

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