What a turnaround from Punjab! And it won't be wrong to say that Rajasthan have been 'Mankaded' here. Also, their first loss against Punjab at this venue. The chase was going very well for the home team as Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane provided an excellent start in the Powerplay. The Rajasthan skipper fell but the Englishman continued and was very severe on all the bowlers, especially his countryman, Sam Curran.
Now, let's talk about the controversial moment which completely turned this game on its head. Ravichandran Ashwin mankaded Jos Buttler and that was the moment when 77 was needed off 43 balls. Sanju Samson and Steven Smith formed a partnership to propel the hosts but then came the over number 17. In an act of redemption,
Sam Curran bowled an extraordinary over where he removed both Smith and Samson, and brought his team back into the contest. The following over by Mujeeb further dented Rajasthan as the Afghan also picked up two crucial wickets. From there on, Punjab just capitalized and earned a win out of nowhere.
Rajasthan's skipper, Ajinkya Rahane says that Jos Buttler batted really well but they lost the plot completely and credits Punjab for bowling well in the last three overs. On the controversial dismissal of Buttler, Rahane chooses not to comment and states that they will take that decision sportingly and it's up to the match referee to decide. Adds that they have a lot to learn from this game. Praises Buttler and Archer for their performance and says that he is taking positives from this match.
Victorious Punjab skipper, Ravichandran Ashwin says that they knew the pitch will slow down after the first six overs. Adds that he has been working on a lot of variations and is pleased with the way it came out. On the Mankading dismissal, Ashwin replies that it's pretty instinctive and Buttler left the crease very early. States that his stand is very clear and it's his half of the pitch. Feels that it was the game-changer and he is happy to end on the winning side. Mentions that Sam Curran had an off day but the way he bounced back was brilliant.
Man of the Match, Chris Gayle smiles and says that it's a big ground and to get some runs in the first game is really important. He is pleased to start the season well and just wants to keep getting better and better. States that he is still enjoying his cricket. Lauds the batting of Sarfaraz Khan. Feels that Rajasthan got the better part of the pitch to bat but praises his bowlers for doing the job for them. Laughs and says that the youngsters in the team have a lot to offer and they want to win this edition for the Universe Boss.
Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Ajinkya Rahane(c), Jos Buttler(w), Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Krishnappa Gowtham, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni
Kings XI Punjab (Playing XI): Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, Nicholas Pooran(w), Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ankit Rajpoot