Lokesh Rahul scored his third fifty of IPL 2018 to lead Punjab to a six-wicket win against Rajasthan at Indore on Sunday.
Chasing 153 to win, Punjab were in a big spot of bother at 87/4 in the 13th over. However, Lokesh (84 off 54 balls) blended caution with aggression and added an unbeaten 68 with Marcus Stoinis (23 off 16 balls) for the fifth wicket to help the team return to winnings ways after defeats in the previous two matches.
Punjab chased down the target in 18.4 overs. It was Punjab's sixth win in nine matches and they moved up one place to third in the standings. RR, on the other hand, continued propping up the table after their sixth defeat in nine matches.
However, the real architect of the Punjab victory was Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The 17-year-old returned 3/27 to help the hosts restrict RR to 152/9.
Mujeeb started his magic in the 13th over as he got rid of the dangerous Ben Stokes for 12. However, Mujeeb had Mayank Agarwal plenty to thank for that wicket: an agile Mayank pouched the aerial ball on the long-off boundary and before he crossed the fence he threw the ball in the air for Manoj Tiwary to complete the catch.
Mujeeb went from strength to strength and in his next over killed it totally.
On 51, Jos Buttler was looking good for an even bigger score when Mujeeb had him caught behind. And then right off the next ball, West Indian Jofra Archer was cleaned up by the Afghan to leave the visitors reeling at 106/5.
These two blows completely derailed Rajasthan's innings. That Ajinkya Rahane's men were still able to reach 152 was largely to do with Shreyas Gopal's effort with the bat towards the end (26 not out off 16 balls). Andrew Tye was the next best bowler from Punjab with figures of 2/24. Mujeeb was rightly chosen Man of the Match.
R Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot and Axar Patel took one wicket each and played their part in restricting the visitors to an average total.