New Delhi: With a victory on Tuesday against KXIP, Rajasthan climbed two places from the bottom to go at the sixth place with 8 points while KXIP remained on the third spot with 12 points.
Earlier, having held hosts Rajasthan at 158, R Ashwin & Co must have been very satisfied. For they had clawed back and restricted a free-flowing RR well under 160. But when Punjab batted, it looked a clear case of a plan going awry. On a tricky wicket, Punjab lost wickets in bunches, refrained from developing stands and eventually went down at the Sawai Man Singh stadium by 15 runs on Tuesday.
While KL Rahul held fort and carried his bat through to continue his purple patch (95 not out off 70 balls), losing partners from other hands not only put pressure on Punjab but also robbed Rahul of taking his chances against the RR bowlers. With the eventual difference being 15 runs, Rahul would have only asked for a partner who could just take the game deeper. But that wasn't to be as Punjab kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
The Punjab batsmen paid for their overambitious approach as they failed to come to terms with the pace of the wicket. While Chris Gayle got stumped around the legs, the following five wickets were an evidence of poor shot selection. Krishnappa Gowtham picked two wickets in consecutive balls in the power play and conceded just 12 runs in three overs. Then Jofra Archer bowled a quick bouncer to cramp Karun Nair for space. Punjab were pegged back. Period.
After the RR innings, Punjab pacer Andrew Tye said that it was important to score well in the power play as it will help later on in chasing that target. However, Punjab batsmen lost three wickets in the power play asking Rahul to resurrect the innings.
RR, on the other hand, rode on Jos Buttler's brilliance with the bat and had scored 63/1 in the first six overs. The Punjab bowlers were all over the place in the power play and that hurt them eventually.