Samson was caught at the ropes.
It remains to be seen if Punjab will persist with Yuvraj for their remaining matches, especially with Punjab still in a strong position of reaching the playoffs.
However, Mujeeb’s exploits were enough to keep Rajasthan in check as Kings XI kept on losing wickets at regular intervals from the start after being sent into bat.
Few overs before that, the match was still evenly poised.
Batting first, KXIP got off to another explosive start as the destructive duo of KL Rahul and Gayle shared a 54-run stand off 40 balls.
Marcus Stoinis (16-ball 23*) announced his arrival with a six down the ground and played a couple of delightful shots to take the pressure off Rahul. Rahul Thumps a six and a boundary to finish off the game, making his highest run of IPL. With his bat doing the talking, Gayle has already silenced his detractors and if his brisk fifty against the Mumbai Indians is any indication, he is no mood to relax as yet.
Axar Patel (4) too didn’t last long as he lofted Ksishnappa Gowtham straight to D’Arcy Shot at deep midwicket.
As far as Rajasthan are concerned, Englishman Jos Buttler will be the one to watch out for.
A fully fit Chris Lynn is a potent T20 weapon and his 260 runs at the top of the order have come at a strike-rate of 134.02. Samson’s catch seemed legit from front-on camera angles, but the side angle indicated the ball might have kissed the turf before falling into his hands. That was the only six of the Royals innings.
Their partnership though was cut short at 49. Bowling his mixture of off-breaks and leg-breaks, Ashwin was a picture of consistency – landing the ball in and around the good-length area repeatedly; he only conceded one boundary – a slog-sweep by Ishan Kishan off the penultimate ball of his spell. Karun Nair has also been impressive after 209 runs from seven innings but veteran Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch and Mayank Agarwal are yet to make their presence felt in the middle-order. Also, pacers Barinder Sran and Andrew Tye, and Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman shoulder the bulk of the responsibility.
The all-rounder used the slower delivery to good effect with his very first ball to dismiss Kolkata opener Shubman Gill and should have had a second but Markande dropped a sitter off Uthappa.
RR trump card is Jofra Archer, he can bowl quick and dish out the yorkers. Mujeeb’s hat-trick ball was a wide.
It looked like RR wont be able to get to even 150 runs, but fine cameo knock from Shreyas Gopal in the end has given Rajasthan bowlers something to bowl at.