West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell expressed delight at being able to recover from a stumble to start the current Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, and backs his team Kings XI Punjab to do the same.

The KL Rahul-led franchise, which also features Chris Gayle, has had a tough start to the new season after winning only one of their first four matches.  In the last fixture, a 48-run loss to Mumbai Indians, Rahul raised eyebrows with his death bowling selection.  Rahul chose K Gowtham to bowl the last over against Mumbai, with the in-form Cottrell left to watch.

Gowtham gave away 25 runs, one of the reasons the Rohit Sharma-led side managed to post a hefty total.

Cottrell had earlier claimed the wicket of Quinton de Kock and conceded just 20 runs in his four overs.  The fast bowler had recovered from a tough outing against Rajasthan Royals',  where Rahul Tewatia smashed 5 sixes off one of his overs during a record run chase. 

Despite the circumstances, Cottrell, however, insisted he remained confident in Rahul’s decisions.

"Honestly, I back my skipper (KL Rahul) 110%. Whatever his decision is, I'm going to back it. It was a decision he felt was best for the team. It didn't work today (Thursday), unfortunately, but on another day I'm sure it will work," Cottrell said.

As for the tough outing against RR, the bowler insisted he never lost confidence and backed the team, to much like he has, recover from a slow start.

"My comeback was excellent. My confidence was always there. But I wish my bowling effort could have helped Kings XI cross the line. I'm feeling pleased about my performance," he added.

"I have been working hard on death bowling, and so have my bowling partners. We're getting there and we've been learning from our mistakes and practising it on the training grounds. I'm sure we're going to pull it off very soon. I wouldn't say worrying, it's just a matter of time for us.”

Virat Kohli ended his barren spell, while Devdutt Padikkal and Yuzvendra Chahal excelled again as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets to go top of the Indian Premier League.

Purple cap holder Chahal took 3-24 to restrict the Royals to 154-6 after Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat first in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Isuru Udana claimed 2-41, including the early dismissal of Smith, and Rajasthan needed a late flurry of runs from Mahipal Lomror (47) and Rahul Tewatia (24 not out) to post over 150.

That was not enough to prevent RCB from taking over at the summit as a second-wicket stand of 99 from Padikkal and Kohli set up an emphatic win at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

In-form 20-year-old opener Padikkal (63 off 45 balls) made his third half-century of the tournament and Kohli registered his first after failing in his previous three knocks.

Kohli finished unbeaten on 72 from 53 deliveries as his side secured a third victory out of four, the captain having given himself a lift by hitting the winning runs in a Super Over win over Mumbai Indians last time out.

The Royals are sixth with two wins and as many defeats, but they are set to be boosted by the arrival of England all-rounder Ben Stokes.

 

CHAHAL PURPLE PATCH CONTINUES

Chahal has made an outstanding start to the tournament and played a key role again after Smith and Jos Buttler were dismissed by Udana and Navdeep Saini respectively.

The tweaker struck with his first ball, with Sanju Samson caught and bowled, and the Royals were 70-4 halfway through their innings when Robin Uthappa holed out attempting to launch Chahal for six.

Lomror also fell to the wily Chahal, who applied the pressure with 10 dot balls as he joined Mohammed Shami on eight wickets in the tournament.

 

PADIKKAL ON A ROLL, KOHLI COMES GOOD

Padikkal has been a revelation for RCB at the top of the order and is now the fourth-highest run scorer in the tournament.

The young left-hander showed exquisite timing to dispatch Jaydev Unadkat for six over square leg and found the rope six times in another classy innings.

Much of the talk ahead of the match was over Kohli's lack of runs, but it was only a matter of time before the India captain delivered.

He brought up his 50 off 41 balls after being dropped by Tewatia, hitting two sixes and seven fours in a high-quality knock before AB de Villiers punched Sam Curran for four to seal victory.

Ben Stokes is on his way to the United Arab Emirates to link up with the Rajasthan Royals squad for the remainder of the Indian Premier League.

The England all-rounder missed the start of the tournament after heading to New Zealand to spend time with his family following his father Ged's brain cancer diagnosis.

Stokes has been in his country of birth since being given permission to leave the England squad following the victory over Pakistan in the first Test at Old Trafford early in August.

The 29-year-old said his "head wasn't in it" during that win in Manchester after he discovered his father's diagnosis.

Stokes is now set to return to action in the IPL once he has undergone the mandatory six-day quarantine following his arrival in Dubai.

He posted pictures of himself on Instagram with his family on Saturday with a caption of "Goodbye's [sic] never get easier."

The Royals then tweeted: "Hi guys, quick question. How long does it take from Christchurch to UAE?" followed by a picture of Stokes on a plane.

Kings IX Punjab opener KL Rahul is confident that Windies star Chris Gayle will be ready and capable when called on to deliver for the team.

So far, the big West Indian has been left viewing from the bench in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL).  In the meantime, Kings IX have struggled to one win and three losses.

The reasons for Gayle’s but breaking into the line-up is not as easy as it seems.  Despite his absence, KXIP has managed to put 200+ totals on the board in two of the four matches they have played. With the likes of Rahul and Mayank Agarwal at the top, Punjab has both the centurions of this IPL at their disposal, and hence the need to have Gayle in the team hasn’t really been felt.

The only player Gayle can come in the team for, at the moment, is his countryman Nicholas Pooran who has been batting at the No. 3 spot. Pooran’s fielding exploits, however, make it hard for the KXIP management to remove him from the team.  Rahul, however, remains convinced the West Indies will make an impact.

"It's been a lot of fun playing with Chris. Not just (that) I have played two seasons with him at KXIP, I have played with him at RCB as well.  I have known him for a good 6-7 years.  As a youngster, I did speak with him a lot and I was looking at him as an opening batsman.  How destructive, powerful, and how intimidating he is,” Rahul told TimesofIndia.

 “I try to learn a lot from him (Gayle). We share a good friendship and that’s what came out in the middle in the last two seasons.  He is somebody who is such an impact player, such a match-winner for whatever team he has played.  Like I said he is very intimidating and takes down the opposition on a given day.  He can destroy any bowling attack.”

Teenager Priyam Garg smashed a maiden Indian Premier League half-century as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Chennai Super Kings by seven runs in Dubai on Friday.

The 19-year-old Garg top scored with an unbeaten 51 off 26 balls after the Sunrisers' top-order stars failed to fire.

Garg and 20-year-old Abhishek Sharma (31 from 24) put on 77 for the fifth wicket in seven overs to get David Warner's side up to 164-5, Deepak Chahar taking 2-31.

That proved to be enough for Sunrisers to secure back-to-back victories and move up to fourth, as bottom side CSK fell short on 157-5 - slumping to a third loss in a row for the first time since 2014.

Ravindra Jadeja (50 from 35) struck a first IPL half-century and MS Dhoni finished 47 not out, but the Super Kings remain on one victory in a poor start to the tournament.

They needed 28 off the last over to pull off an unlikely win and although Abdul Samad started with five wides and Sam Curran finished the match with a six, Chennai were unable to avoid another defeat.

Rashid Khan conceded just 12 runs from his four overs, but Sunrisers' win came at a cost as Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a thigh injury.

 

YOUNG GUNS STEP UP FOR SUNRISERS

Jonny Bairstow was cleaned up by an inswinger from Chahar without scoring in the first over and Sunrisers were 69-4 after 11 overs when Kane Williamson was run out.

With Warner (28) and Manish Pandey also back in the pavilion, it was left to Garg and Sharma to come to the rescue.

Garg hit a six and found the rope six times, while Sharma - who only turned 20 last month - also struck a maximum and another four boundaries as the young guns delivered for Sunrisers.

There was another memorable moment for man of the match Garg when his throw saw the back of the dangerous Faf du Plessis, run out for 22.

 

RASHID TURNS THE SCREW, CONCERN FOR KUMAR

Leg-spin sensation Rashid starred with 3-14 in a victory over Delhi Capitals last time out and he delivered again.

The Afghanistan tweaker did not add to his wicket tally for the tournament, but his 16 dot balls were the most in an innings in the 2020 edition of the tournament.

Only Sheldon Cottrell (47), Jasprit Bumrah (47) and Mohammad Shami (42) have bowled more deliveries without conceding a run in the opening four matches of the IPL than Rashid, who has racked up 41 dots.

The injury to Kumar in the penultimate over is a cause for concern for Warner's in-form side, though.

 

DHONI AND JADEJA MILESTONES NO CONSOLATION

Captain Dhoni and Jadeja reached milestones with the bat, but that would be no consolation for the experienced duo.

Dhoni moved to the 4,500-run mark in the IPL and Jadeja has 2,000 under his belt, yet their knocks were not enough to pick up much needed points.

Rohit Sharma passed 5,000 runs in the Indian Premier League as Mumbai Indians returned to winning ways in style, recording a 48-run victory over Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi. 

India batsman Rohit surpassed the milestone with the very first ball he faced, clipping a wide outswinger from Mohammed Shami through the cover region. 

It set the tone for a sublime innings, with the right-hander reaching 70 off 45 balls, striking eight boundaries and three sixes. 

 A late flurry from Kieron Pollard (47), set Kings XI a target of 192 – a total they never threatened to reach despite the efforts of Nicholas Pooran, who scored 44 on the eve of his 25th birthday. 

Mumbai – who lost their last match following a super over – saw Quinton de Kock depart for a duck from the fifth delivery of the game. 

Rohit swiftly set about taking the initiative, and struck two fours from the second over, before he successfully overturned a leg before wicket decision after the technology deemed Mohammed Shami's delivery was heading down the leg side. 

When Pollard was positive from the outset on his arrival at the crease, Rohit stepped up, hitting 21 off a James Neesham over, while four sixes in the 20th helped the Indians reach 191-4. 

Kings XI began speedily enough in response, yet the first of two Jasprit Bumrah wickets saw Mayank Agarwal removed for 25 in the fifth over. 

Pooran was soon at the crease and tallied three fours and two maximums, although captain and opener KL Rahul could not stick around to provide a steady partner, departing for 17. 

Glenn Maxwell helped Pooran take the chasing side past 100, but Kings XI's star man perished when James Pattinson found his outside edge, a huge wicket that left the West Indian’s team-mates with too much to do as three were out for single figures. 

ROHIT PUNISHES NEESHAM 

It was a torrid day with the ball for Neesham, who finished with figures of 0-52 from four overs. 

Neesham attempted successive yorkers in the costly 16th over, with Rohit dispatching both of them to the boundary, yet things got worse when the Mumbai skipper pulled the next delivery over square for six, with the fifth ball of the over also heading over the ropes. 

NO PARTY FOR POORAN 

It looked for a brief time as though Pooran might be about to have a birthday to remember as he threatened a fightback. 

He did the heavy lifting in partnerships of 21 with Rahul and then 41 with Maxwell, yet his departure in the 14th over sparked a collapse as those further down the order failed to pack the same punch. 

Early Indian Premier League leaders Rajasthan Royals suffered a 37-run defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai on Wednesday despite Tom Curran's late half-century.

The Royals had won their opening two matches of the competition but, just three days on from the highest successful run chase in IPL history against Kings XI Punjab, turned in a miserable display with the bat.

Rajasthan, set 175 to win, tallied 12 runs off their first over - led by Jos Buttler (21) - but the signs of their subsequent struggles were there as Steve Smith came unstuck at the hand of international team-mate Pat Cummins (1-13) in the second.

Another big dismissal followed in the fifth over as Sanju Samson dragged Shivam Mavi (2-20) to midwicket and Buttler's departure to the same man prompted a flurry with two more wickets supplied by Kamlesh Nagarkoti (2-13) in the eighth over.

Rahul Tewatia had improbably inspired the dramatic victory over Kings XI last time out and similar heroics were required as he arrived at the crease.

There was a solitary six, but Tewatia (14) was beaten by Varun Chakravarthy (2-25), who found the middle stump, as the odds increasingly stacked against the Royals.

Curran made a fine 54 off 36, yet his side fell well short of the Knight Riders' 174-6, a target which might have been even greater but for Jofra Archer's (2-18) return to form with the ball.

The Knight Riders' top score came from opener Shubman Gill (47), who hit five fours and a maximum before handing Archer a simple catch off his own bowling.

Andre Russell sought to pick up the mantle and accelerated Kolkata's scoring with 16 runs off the 13th over, but he too departed as he picked out Jaydev Unadkat at the boundary attempting his fourth six of the innings.

It was left to Eoin Morgan to boost the total as he ended unbeaten on 34, surviving a scare off more dangerous Archer bowling, although it ultimately would have mattered little.
 

OUTSTANDING ARCHER

The Royals' star bowler was a dismal 0-46 in their dramatic victory on Sunday, but he was in the mood this time. A rapid first over saw just one run and set the tone, before he crucially caught Gill off his own bowling at the start of his next stint.

Archer's pace slowed Russell briefly and then saw Dinesh Karthik edge behind. He might have added the scalp of Morgan, too, had Tom Curran not dropped his England captain over the boundary.

"It's a different wicket here," Archer explained at the end of the innings. "You can hit length a bit more confidently."

KKR KIDS DO DAMAGE

Cummins made a superb start against Smith, another of the world's best bowlers following opponent Archer's lead, but it was the Knight Riders' younger stars who really sparkled.

Mavi and Nagarkoti are 21 and 20 respectively but both have missed long stretches in recent years due to back injuries, with the younger man not making his IPL debut until this season.

They shone against more experienced players on Wednesday, though, with Mavi crucially getting Samson and Buttler as the Royals started to recover from Smith's wicket.

Sunrisers Hyderabad registered their first win of the 2020 Indian Premier League season, overcoming previously unbeaten Delhi Capitals by 15 runs on Tuesday.

After back-to-back defeats to start their campaign in the Twenty20 competition, it proved to be third time lucky for Sunrisers, who posted 162-4 after being put into bat.

Jonny Bairstow led the way with 53 from 48 deliveries, though it was Kane Williamson who made the most telling contribution. The New Zealand batsman was drafted into the XI and responded to the opportunity with a rapid 41.

His 26-ball knock included five boundaries as he capitalised on a solid opening stand worth 77 between Bairstow and David Warner, who made 45 in his 50th IPL game as captain.

Delhi saw several batsmen get starts without kicking on during their unsuccessful reply, Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant struggling to break the shackles despite making 34 and 28 respectively.

Rashid Khan was at his miserly best for Hyderabad, claiming superb figures of 3-14, and while Shimron Hetmyer provided some much-needed impetus, hitting 21 from 12 thanks to a pair of sixes, Delhi finished up on 147-7.

 

KANE ABLE TO HELP

Respective strike rates of 136 and 110 for the usually fast-scoring Warner and Bairstow demonstrated how it was far from easy for batsmen to force the pace on a slow, low surface at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

However, Williamson showed it is not all about power in the shortest format. The right-hander was the only batsman to find any rhythm, cleverly hitting balls into gaps to add 52 with Bairstow for the third wicket.

RASHID SHUTS DOWN CAPITALS

The Afghanistan international's spell included 13 dot balls and he conceded just a solitary boundary, as well as claiming three crucial top-order wickets.

However, the leg-spinner may not have dismissed opener Dhawan had it not been for wicketkeeper Bairstow.

The England international was the only one to strongly appeal for a catch behind and while initially given not out on the field, the original decision had to be overturned following a review.

Virat Kohli struck the last ball of a Super Over for four to seal a thrilling Indian Premier League win for Royal Challengers Bangalore after Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard gave Mumbai Indians hope.

Royal Challengers posted an imposing 201-3 after being put in at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Monday courtesy of half-centuries from Devdutt Padikkal (54), Aaron Finch (52) and AB de Villiers (55).

The brilliant Washington Sundar (1-12) struck a huge blow by dismissing Rohit Sharma in the second over of the run chase and Mumbai looked beaten at 78-4 in the 12th over.

However, Kishan and Pollard astonishing forcedly a tie after putting on 119 for the fifth wicket off just 8.3 overs, the former making 99 off 58 balls – including nine sixes – before he was out off the penultimate delivery.

Pollard (60 not out from 23) brought the scores level with a four off the last ball – making it the highest tied score in an IPL contest – when the Indians were five down, but RCB were not to be denied victory.

Indians duo Pollard and Hardik Pandya could only take seven from Navdeep Saini's Super Over and Jasprit Bumrah was unable to keep it so tight, boundaries from the in-form De Villiers and Kohli giving RCB a second win out of three.

 

KOHLI FAILS AGAIN AS REST OF RCB TOP ORDER CASH IN

Despite hitting the winning runs, Kohli looked out of sorts again as he made just three from 11 balls before the tie-breaker, Rahul Chahar getting the India captain caught at short cover.

Padikkal and Finch had put on 81 for the first wicket in nine overs and De Villiers cashed in on a great track with some magnificent clean striking, hitting four sixes and as many fours.

Shivam Dube got in on the act with an unbeaten 27 off just 10 balls, clearing the ropes three times, as RCB reached 200 for the 17th time when batting first – six more times than any other team.

 

KISHAN AND POLLARD PRODUCE STUNNING BLITZ

It looked to be game over when Pandya fell to Adam Zampa in the 12th over of the run chase, leaving Mumbai four down and with a mountain to climb.

Sundar – who did not concede a boundary from his four overs – saw the back of Rohit before debutant Isuru Udana struck twice, with substitute fielder Pawan Negi taking three catches.

Kishan and Pollard had other ideas, with the West Indies all-rounder hitting the last ball of the 20th over for four after Kishan had struck Udana for back-to-back sixes before being caught in the deep on 99.

 

KOHLI HAS THE LAST LAUGH

It has been a poor start for Kohli, but he had the last laugh by whipping his India team-mate Bumrah for four when needing just one to win off the last ball.

De Villiers, on the other hand, is in great nick and also found the rope off the fourth ball from Bumrah after Saini halted Mumbai's momentum.

Rajasthan Royals pulled off the highest run chase in the history of the Indian Premier League against Kings XI Punjab, overshadowing a superb century from Mayank Agarwal.

Steve Smith, Sanju Samson and Rahul Tewatia all made key contributions with the bat as the Royals pulled off a stunning four-wicket triumph to make it two from two in the early stages of the 2020 season. 

Agarwal shared in an opening stand worth 183 with in-form skipper KL Rahul as he made a magnificent 106, helping Kings XI post 223-2 after being put into bat.

Nicholas Pooran produced a late cameo, making 25 from just eight deliveries, though his most notable contribution came later in the field with a gravity-defying stop in the deep.

Rajasthan lost Jos Buttler early in their reply, yet captain Smith made 50 in a hurry to make sure his team remained up with the required rate. 

Samson top scored with 85 from just 42 deliveries but, after he became the first of three wickets for seamer Mohammed Shami, Tewatia took over. 

The left-hander vindicated his unexpected promotion up the order, overcoming a sluggish start to blast his team towards their target. Sheldon Cottrell suffered the most, taken for five sixes in an over that cost 30. 

Jofra Archer smashed two maximums to finish 13 not out before fellow England international Tom Curran delivered the winning blow, sending his first ball to the boundary midway through the last over.

 

OPENERS CAUSE ROYAL ISSUES

Having made 132 not out against Bangalore Royal Challengers last time, right-hander Rahul was again in the runs for Kings XI.

The India batsman made 69 from 54 deliveries but played second fiddle to opening partner Agarwal, who hit seven sixes and 10 fours to reach three figures from just 49 deliveries.

Their partnership is the third highest for the first wicket in the competition, while this was Agarwal's maiden IPL century.

POORAN TAKES OFF

Samson appeared to have hit Murugan Ashwin for six when he launched the spinner deep to midwicket in the eighth over of the Royals' innings.

However, Pooran had other ideas. Leaping backwards beyond the boundary, he managed to catch the ball before flicking it back into play prior to him hitting the ground, timing the release to perfection.

COTTRELL GOES THE DISTANCE

Tewatia, whose solitary over with the ball went for 19 runs, had 17 to his name from 23 balls at one stage. Then, with 51 required from the final three overs, everything changed - most notably his strike-rate.

He certainly took a liking to Cottrell's bowling, turning what appeared to be a tall order into a straightforward equation.

A solitary dot ball spared the left-armer completing the unwanted full set of sixes in the over, but the sudden onslaught turned the game at a crucial stage. 

Shubman Gill made a brilliant unbeaten half-century to steer Kolkata Knight Riders to a seven-wicket Indian Premier League win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.

Both sides had lost their first game of the tournament and it was KKR who got up and running at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, where Sunrisers could only post 142-4 after David Warner won the toss and opted to bat.

Manish Pandey top scored with 51 from 38 balls and Warner made 36, but Pat Cummins (1-19) and Varun Chakravarthy (1-25) were the standout bowlers in a fine performance in the field from the Knight Riders.

KKR stayed ahead of the run-rate in reply, but there was work to do when they were 53-3 in the seventh over in Abu Dhabi.

Star spinner Rashid Khan trapped captain Dinesh Karthik leg before for a duck to leave the Knight Riders three down, Sunil Narine having also gone without scoring and Nitish Rana (26) caught behind off Thangarasu Natarajan.

Gill (70no from 62) and Eoin Morgan (42no off 29) then combined for a match-winning unbroken stand of 92 to get Kolkata home with two overs to spare.

That leaves Sunrisers as the only team without a point early in the tournament.

CUMMINS SPOILS BAIRSTOW'S BIRTHDAY

Jonny Bairstow was unable to celebrate his 31st birthday with an explosive knock, departing for only five off 10 balls.

The England batsman might have thought it was his day when he successfully reviewed after being given out to Cummins, but he was cleaned up off the next ball from the Australia quick.

Cummins, who went for 49 from three overs in a loss to Mumbai Indians three days earlier, was outstanding and deserved more than just the one wicket, bowling 11 dot balls in four excellent overs.

Bairstow's opening partner Warner was looking in great touch until he was caught and bowled by Chakravarthy.

 

YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE GET KKR HOME

The 21-year-old Gill reached his half-century off 42 balls and saw it through with great support from the vastly experienced Morgan.

Gill and England's ODI World Cup-winning captain Morgan both struck two sixes as they took the game away from Sunrisers.

The powerful Morgan finished the game in the style, dispatching Natarajan over long-on for six and hitting the next ball for four to finish it off.

Gill, who also found the rope five times, was named man of the match after giving another demonstration of his considerable promise.

Kagiso Rabada starred once again after Prithvi Shaw blasted a blistering half-century as Delhi Capitals beat Chennai Super Kings by 44 runs to go top of the Indian Premier League.

Rabada took two wickets for as many runs in a Super Over to set up a victory over Kings XI Punjab in the Capitals' first game of the tournament last Sunday.

The South Africa paceman was outstanding once again at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday, taking 3-26 to restrict Chennai to 131-7 in reply to 175-3.

Shaw earlier smashed 64 off 43 balls, while Shikhar Dhawan (35) and Rishabh Pant (37 not out) also chipped in to get Delhi every chance of making it two wins out of two.

Opener Shaw and Dhawan put on 94 for the first wicket off just 10.4 overs, but Piyush Chawla (2-33) and Sam Curran (1-27) helped to keep the Capitals under the 200 mark they looked set to reach.

The Super Kings never looked like reaching their target, Faf du Plessis top scoring with 43 before he was removed by Rabada, who also got rid of MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the final over.

Rabada's compatriot Anrich Nortje took 2-21 from a brilliant four overs for CSK, who have now lost two out of three, as the Capitals moved to the summit. 

UNWANTED RECORD FOR JADEJA, SHAW CUTS LOOSE

Shaw and Dhawan laid the platform for Delhi's comfortable victory with an entertaining opening stand.

It was no fun for Jadeja, who saw Dhawan clatter his first ball for six over midwicket and Shaw sweep him over the ropes in a second over that went for 15.

Jadeja's four overs cost 44 runs and he failed to take a wicket, becoming the first spinner to concede at least 40 runs in three successive IPL matches.

Shaw was named man of the match, having hit nine fours as well as that big six in masterful knock before Dhoni stumped him off Chawla in the 13th over.

 

LANDMARK FOR DU PLESSIS AS SOUTH AFRICANS TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Du Plessis reached the 2,000 IPL runs landmark but he was never going to be celebrating with a victory.

His fellow South Africans Rabada and Nortje did the bulk of the damage in the run chase, bowling 23 dot balls between them and taking key wickets.

Axar Patel also set the tone, with his four overs costing only 18 runs and he also took the wicket of Shane Watson.

KL Rahul punished Virat Kohli for a pair of drops by scoring the first century of the IPL season as Kings XI Punjab crushed Royal Challengers Bangalore by 97 runs in Dubai.

Kings XI captain Rahul spearheaded a dominant victory for his team – their first of the campaign – making an unbeaten 132 off 69 balls in a stunning display of big hitting.

The India international made 42 off his last nine deliveries as RCB were severely punished at the death, their last two overs from Dale Steyn (0-57) and Shivam Dube (2-33) going for 49.

Rahul brought up his ton in an incredible penultimate over that saw him plunder 26 off Steyn, as Kings XI surged from 157-3 to 206-3 at the end of their innings.

RCB paid a heavy price for captain Kohli twice dropping Rahul, first when he was on 83 again when he was on 90 and gearing up for a phenomenal late flurry.

Bangalore never looked like matching the tally. They were reduced to 3-4 when Sheldon Cottrell (17-2) removed Kohli for one, with Washington Sundar (30) and AB de Villiers (28) the only players to score more than 20 as they were skittled for 109.

 

RECORD-BREAKING RAHUL

By surpassing Rishabh Pant's unbeaten 128 for Delhi Daredevils in 2018, Rahul set a record for the highest score by an Indian batsman in the IPL.

De Villiers (133no), Brendon McCullum (158no) and Chris Gayle (175no) are the only players to have bettered Rahul's knock in the competition.

He finished with 14 fours and seven maximums.

NO WAY BACK

When Kohli sliced Cottrell to Ravi Bishnoi after Devdutt Padikkal sent the West Indies left-armer to the same man at mid-on, RCB were left with a mountain to climb.

Bishnoi (3-32) also claimed the scalps of Aaron Finch (20), Umesh Yadav (0) and Sundar to cap an impressive display, but the pick of the bowlers was Murugan Ashwin.

His leg spin accounted for De Villiers and put RCB out of their misery, with Navdeep Saini (6) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1) the final wickets to fall as Ashwin finished with figures of 3-21 from his three overs.

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder will get a chance to appear at this season’s India Premier League (IPL) after being earmarked to replace injured Australian Mitchell Marsh.

Marsh, who was drafted by Sunrisers Hyderabad, was ruled out of the tournament after injuring his ankle in the team’s first match of the season.

As a result, Holder, who will perhaps be looking to make up for a disappointing outing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), has been tipped to make his fourth IPL appearance.  It will be the second for the Sunrisers, but he has previously featured for the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Holder, who was replaced as West Indies T20 captain by Kieron Pollard last year, had a base price of INR 75 lakh ($US100,000), in the December IPL auction but went unsold more than once.

In the most recent CPL campaign, he led the Barbados Tridents to a fifth-place finish in the six-team table. Holder scored 192 runs at a strike rate of 140.14, and also picked up ten wickets at an economy rate of 6.63.  He will be required to undergo a six-day quarantine before joining up with the rest of the team.

Rohit Sharma's rapid 80 steered Mumbai Indians to a convincing 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in Wednesday's Indian Premier League clash.

The opener played a blinding captain's innings with his knock at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi coming off just 54 deliveries.

Rohit put on 90 runs with Suryakumar Yadav (47) for a second-wicket stand that frustrated the Knight Riders, who at least restricted Mumbai under 200.

Saurabh Tiwary (21) and Hardik Pandya (18) added valuable runs in a total of 195-5 that Kolkata never got near.

The impressive Jasprit Bumrah (2-32) dismissed Kolkata danger men Andre Russell (11) and Eoin Morgan (16) before they even got going.

Kolkata eventually posted 146-9 in reply, some way short of their target to start their campaign with a defeat, while Mumbai rebounded from an opening loss to Chennai Super Kings.


YOU SIXY THING, ROHIT

Rohit's knock included six sixes and three fours, with the unfortunate Kuldeep Yadav smacked straight over the ropes twice in the 14th over.

He now has 200 maximums in the IPL, 12 shy of MS Dhoni in third place on the all-time list, but still 126 short of leader Chris Gayle.


BUMRAH DOES THE BUSINESS

Trent Boult, James Pattinson and Rahul Chahar each also finished with two wickets in an all-round effort from Mumbai's bowling team.

Russell and Morgan were well capable of getting Kolkata, who had slipped to 77-4, back into the match but Bumrah broke up a potentially dangerous partnership in the 16th over.

Bumrah knocked back Russell's leg stump before Morgan edged behind, leaving Mumbai to close on a first victory in the UAE from six attempts.

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