A brilliant bowling performance, spearheaded by Mujeeb Ur Rahman, enhanced the Kings XI’s playoff position as they beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets.
The Kings’ success lay in four balls bowled by Afghanistan leg-spinner Mujeeb in a variety of deliveries that dismissed three big hitters in Ben Stokes (12), Jos Buttler (51 off 39) and Jofra Archer (0).
Stokes went to an incredible relay catch on the boundary by Manoj Tiwary, who fielded Mayank Agarwal’s lob back into the field as he went over the ropes. Buttler, after striking seven fours off 39 balls, edged a carrom ball and Archer was deceived by a perfect googly.
The net result, considering no one else scored above Sanju Samson’s 28 off 23, was a below-par total of 152-9.
The Royals, who have won just three matches from nine, may have been lifted by the early dismissal of Chris Gayle – whose thunderbolt shot was heroically taken by Samson at point – and Agarwal, which left the Kings at 29-2. But Lokesh Rahul played a clinical innings, ending on 84 off 54 balls. He was well supported by Karun Nair (31) and Marcus Stoinis (23 off 16).
The result puts the Kings at third on the log with 12 points, just two behind the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings, with a game in hand. The Royals are in the mud with six points from nine games.