The team that had been known as Kings XI Punjab till last season must be pleased with its winning start to its campaign in IPL 14.
Is there something in a name?
Punjab Kings could well be thinking there is — unlike William Shakespeare — after its four-run victory over Rajasthan Royals on Monday night. The team that had been known as Kings XI Punjab till last season must be pleased with its winning start to its campaign in IPL 14.
It would be unfair to skipper K.L. Rahul (91, 50b, 7×4, 5×6) and Deepak Hooda (64, 28b, 4×4, 6×6) though to credit Punjab’s victory merely to a change in nomenclature. The gentle classicism of Rahul combined beautifully with the brutal hitting from Hooda, as the duo helped Punjab post 221 for six after being put in.
That proved in the end to nullify a brilliant 119 off 63 balls from the Royals captain Sanju Samson, who was out the last ball, caught by Hooda off Arshdeep Singh when five runs were needed.
Rahul and Hooda put on 105 for the third wicket off just 46 balls, after a 28-ball 40 from Chris Gayle. Their stand was one of the several highlights of an eventful Punjab innings.
There was a splendid debut for Chetan Sakariya, the 22-year-old left-arm seamer who had to put behind him the tragedy of his younger brother committing suicide just two months ago. On a night when his team’s other main bowlers were taken apart by the Punjab batsmen, he claimed three for 31 off four overs.
He also took what could remain one of the catches off the season. Fielding at short fine-leg, he flew, like a goalkeeper, to his left and came up with a two-handed blinder that sent Nicholas Pooran back for a golden duck off Chris Morris.
The sizzlers: Sanju Samson took Rajasthan Royals nearly home after K.L. Rahul and Hooda had powered Punjab Kings to a mammoth total. Sakariya had a memorable day for Royals.
Just two balls later, another brilliant catch put an end to the hopes of a Rahul hundred, his namesake Rahul Tewatia producing a remarkable piece of juggling act inside and outside the mid-wicket boundary, off Sakaria, of course.
A little later, the Royals’ chase got off to a disastrous start when Ben Stokes was dismissed by Mohammed Shami with the third ball of the innings.
Shami takes a skier
The pacer beat his captain behind the stumps to take the skier off a top edge.
Royals would have been in deeper trouble of Rahul hadn’t dropped his counterpart Samson off Arshdeep.
He gave another chance and also survived an lbw verdict against him thanks to DRS on his way to his third IPL hundred.