Sharjah: Mayank Agawarl (106, 50b, 10×4, 7×6) continued his good form with the bat to place Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in a commanding position against Rajasthan Royals (RR) here Sunday. Put into bat by opposition skipper Steve Smith, the Karnataka batsman along with his state teammate KL Rahul put the opposition attack to sword during the IPL-13 game here. The two put on an opening stand of 183 runs to completely dominate the RR attack in which no bowler was spared.
Riding on their knocks KXIP ended on 223 for two in their 20 overs. This is the second time in the tournament they have posted more than 200 runs in 20 overs. Even with the likes of Jos Buttler returning the RR side, it will certainly need some batting to chase down the KXIP target. But then strange things have happened in cricket and who knows what lies in store in the second half.
After losing their opener against Delhi Capitals in the Super Over, it seems that now KXIP are on a mission. In their last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) it was Rahul who had come to the party scoring a brilliant unbeaten 132. Even though, he was a bit circumspect today, it did not matter as Agarwal put the RR bowlers to sword. Their misery finally ended when Agarwal holed out to Sanju Samson running in from the deep mid-wicket fence off the bowling of Tom Curran.
Rahul also played his in the opening with a 54-ball 69 that included seven boundaries and one six. He fell trying to hit Ankit Rajput over point and holed out to Shreyas Gopal on the third man fence.
Some bold hitting then by Nicholas Pooran (25 n o, 8b, 1×4, 3×6) and Glenn Maxwell (13 n o, 9b, 2×4) then propelled KXIP to this editions highest total in the games played so far.
Such was the dominance of the two that between the eighth and 13th overs KXIP scored an astounding 73 runs. Among the bowlers in that period Rahul Tewatia bowled a single over and went for 19 runs, with Agarwal hitting him for two sixes and a boundary. The ninth over was bowled by Shreyas Gopal and he went for 16 runs. It was Agarwal only who got two maximums and a boundary this over too.
The beauty of Agarwal’s batting that he hits on both sides of the wicket and tries to play with a straight bat as much as possible. Add to it the languidness and grace of Rahul and it was a pleasure to the eyes for the TV viewers.
Brief scores: KXIP 223 for 2 in 20 overs (Mayank Agarwal 106, KL Rahul 69, Nicholas Pooran 25 n o). Match to continue.