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Rajasthan Royals lived to fight another day with a 15-run win over Kings XI Punjab as KL Rahul’s unbeaten 95, coming amidst a surprise batting meltdown, went in vain in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday. Opting to bat in this must-win game, Rajasthan Royals could only muster 158 for eight despite Jos Buttler’s blazing 58-ball 82 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. The home team, however, staged a strong fightback with the ball as it restricted Kings XI Punjab to 143 for seven in the stipulated 20 overs. Languishing at the bottom of the table prior to this game, RR have now moved to the sixth place, while KXIP remained in the third position.
RR reduced Kings to 19 for three in the fourth over and the visitors struggled to recover from the horrendous start, as they soon found themselves stuttering at 45 for four and then 66 for five, with eight overs left. For Kings XI Punjab, Rahul played the lone ranger with 95 off 70 balls, his fourth half-century of the ongoing league. KXIP needed 32 runs in the last over and Rahul’s six and two fours were not enough.
The dream start was provided by Krishnappa Gowtham as the off-spinner sent back the dangerous Chris Gayle with the first ball of the third over. The spinner slid one down the leg side and Gayle charged down the wicket, only to be excellently stumped by Buttler.