Jos Buttler hits third consecutive fifty to boost Rajasthan Royals

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Jos Buttler hits third consecutive fifty to boost Rajasthan Royals

The lone hand: KL Rahul's stunning form for Kings XI continued with an unbeaten-95 very almost helping his side to an unlikely victory. Two days back, they were chasing 153 and were in all sorts of trouble at 87/4.

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.

48 - KL Rahul's 48-ball fifty is the slowest in his Twenty20 career.

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 unsafe Chris Gayle (1) and skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (0) with the visitors managing to reach just 14 runs.

Karun, who had been named Virat Kohli's replacement for the one-off Test against Afghanistan just hours earlier, played a poor shot to gift his wicket to Jofra Archer. Despite a chasable target, apart from KL Rahul, no other batsman could contribute to the chase. Don't think there will be too much bounce. While KXIP were losing wickets, Rahul was going strong from one end.

By the end of 18th over, the required rate surged 23.5 an over which was almost impossible. KXIP needed 32 off the last over but Jaydev Unadkat had Stoinis caught by Gowtham in the deep. Punjab is third on 12 points. A number of Ashwin's changes (bringing in or dropping the likes of Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, David Miller, Yuvraj Singh) have been out of his choice on what works best for the team while Rahane's changes were borne out of necessity.

After posting a fighting total of 158/8, RR restricted Punjab to 143/7 to eke out a vital victory in a must-win game. Buttler got a reprieve on 82, but did not last long enough to celebrate.

After Rahane's departure Gowtham to fell victim of Stoinis in the 7th over by scoring just 8 runs.

Pacer Andre Tye was the most successful KXIP bowler, returning figures of 4/34, while mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman picked up 2/21 in four overs. But he could not capitalise and was dismissed for 82. The batting also needs to sort it head out with heavy reliance on Sanju Sampson costing Rajasthan more matches than they would have liked. An unbelievable 82 off 58 balls Jos Buttler gave the host a heady start, but as soon as he left thing went into a downward spiral. a catastrophic bowling by Andrew Tye knocked 4 wickets, 3 in the last over and limited RR - 158/8. Jaydev Unadkat hasn't filled in the boots of being a gun Indian fast bowler while Ben Stokes looks a pale shadow of what he was with Rising Pune Supergiant.

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