In the first match on Saturday, the Kolkata Knight Riders kept their play-off hopes alive with a 31 run victory over Kings XI Punjab in Indore. Put into bat by the home team, Kolkata got off to a good start through Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine, and when Lynn fell to the impressive Andrew Tye for 27, Narine then combined in an 81 run stand with Robin Uthappa, which Narine dominated.
They both fell in the 12th over to Tye, Narine for75 which included 4 sixes, and Uthappa for 34. However, there was no let-up for Punjab as Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik blasted 76 in five overs, and when Russell became the fourth of Tye’s victims, Nitesh Rana and Shubman Gill were then to add more quick runs at the end. Karthik was out for 50 in the final over, having hit 3 sixes of his own, but there was still time for Gill and Javon Searles to score eleven more, as Kolkata closed on a mammoth 245 -6.
Chasing such an imposing total was a tall order, but KL Rahul and Chris Gayle got off to a good start with an opening stand of 57 before Gayle fell for 21 to the bowling of Russell, who then accounted for Mayank Agarwal next ball. Sunil Narine became the third man to fall to Russell, before man of the match Narine took the key wicket of Rahul for a 66 which included 7 sixes. Aaron Finch and Axar Patel tried to counter, but the home side were behind the required rate, and wickets were lost as risks were taken. Finch (34) Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin (45) all made useful contributions, and Tye followed up his bowling performance with a quick 14, but it was not enough, and the Kings’ innings eventually concluded on 214 – 8, someway short of their target.
In the second match the Royal Challengers Bangalore cruised to an easy 5 wicket victory over the Delhi Daredevils in a battle of the bottom two sides in the IPL. Put into bat, Delhi got off to a poor start, losing Prithvi Shaw and Jason Roy, both to the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal, in the first three overs. The young Indian pair of Shreyas Iyer and Ribabh Pant then staged a recovery, putting on 93 for the third wicket, before Pant fell for 61, having hit 4 sixes. Iyer departed for 32, but Vijay Shakar and Abhishek Sharma combined in an unbeaten stand of 61, as the home side posted 181 – 4 from their 20 overs. Sharma was unbeaten on 46, whilst his partner finished 21 not out.
Bangalore got off to a bad start themselves, losing both Parthiv Patel and Moeen Ali cheaply, but then Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers put them in control with a partnership of 118. Kohli went for 70, having struck 3 sixes, but de Villiers found support from Mandeep Singh (13) and Sarfaraz Khan (11) as they moved towards their victory target. With the scores level, de Villiers struck a six to seal matters with an over to spare, claiming the man of the match award with an unbeaten 72, which included 6 sixes and 4 fours.
On Sunday, the Chennai Super Kings moved a step closer to confirming their play-off status by claiming an 8 wicket victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Pune. Star of the show was Ambati Rayudu who hit his maiden IPL century, as his side chased down their target with an over to spare.
Earlier, put into bat, Hyderabad survived the early loss of opener Alex Hayles, with Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson putting together a stand of 123 for the second wicket. However, both were out off successive balls, Dhawan for 798 which included 3 sixes, and Williamson for 51. With their departure, the Sunrisers lost a little momentum, and although Deepak Hooda contributed some late runs with a brisk 21, their final total of 179 – 4 seemed bit below par.
And so it proved as Shane Watson and Rayudu shared an opening stand of 134, which put the home side on top. Watson was run out by Williamson for 57, having struck 3 sixes, and Suresh Raina fell cheaply, but MS Dhoni joined his compatriot at the crease, and together they eased their side to victory. Dhoni was 20 not out at the end, with Rayudu scoring exactly one hundred, including 7 sixes and 7 fours.
On Sunday night, Englishman Jos Buttler tied Virat Sehwag’s IPL record of five consecutive half-centuries as he scored 94 not out to help his side the Rajasthan Royals to a 7 wicket victory over the Mumbai Indians. The opener scored his runs off 53 balls, including 5 sixes, as the visitors reached their target with 2 overs to spare.
Put into bat, Mumbai, the home side, got off to a good start through Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis, but then Jofra Archer struck with consecutive balls, removing Kumar for 38 and Rohit Sharma for a duck. Lewis and Ishan Kishan then took the innings along before Lewis was out, top scoring for his side with sixty, including 4 sixes. Kishan was caught off the bowling of Ben Stokes for 12, and although Hardik Pandya scored a late 36, Rajasthan did well to restrict the Indians to 168 -6 from their allocated overs.
In response, Rajasthan lost D’Arcy Short in the first over, but Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane gave their side a strong platform, putting on 95 for the second wicket. Rahane fell to Pandya for 37, but Sanju Samson combined with Buttler to carry their side to the verge of victory. Samson was out just before the end to Pandya for 26, leaving it down to Buttler, fittingly, to score the winning runs.
Monday night saw one of the most one-sided contests of the League this season as The Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed the Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets, bowling out the home side for just 88, and knocking off the runs they needed in just the ninth over.
Punjab, batting first, started comfortably enough with KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, but then saw both men fall to the bowling of Umesh Yadav in the space of three balls. Then Karun Nair fell for just a single, and Marcus Stoinis and Mayank Agarwal both fell cheaply. Aaron Finch offered a modicum of resistance with 26, but when he fell with the score on 78, the Punjab batting completely subsided, with the last 5 wickets falling for the addition of just 88, with no fewer than three batsmen falling to run out.
The Bangalore opening pair of Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel raced towards their target, meeting little opposition from the Punjab bowling, and they sealed the victory which kept alive their hopes in the competition, with Kohli scoring the winning runs. He ended on 48 not out whilst his partner was undefeated on 40.