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. 

 West Indies pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell did not make his debut for Kings XI Punjab in the team's Indian Premier League (IPL) opener but received a warm reception nonetheless after being given his cap by none other than T20 legend Chris Gayle.

In typically flamboyant style, Gayle welcomed his countryman to the team with a short march and salute.  The celebration style has been made popular by the fast bowler who treats fans to the salute every time that he takes a wicket.

The 31-year-old former soldier was bought for a whopping INR 8.5 crore ($US1,156,239) by Punjab during the IPL 2020 auction.  The player joined the IPL after taking part in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  It was not smooth sailing for Kings XI on debut.   Chasing 158, Kings XI needed 13 from the last over bowled by Australia Marcus Stoinis. Mayank Agarwal started the over with a six followed by a couple and a four, thereby equalling the score.

Now, the KL Rahul-led side required just one run to win off three balls. But in a significant twist, Punjab failed to score. The game went to the Super Over where DC successfully defeated KXIP.  Gayle was also not a part of the team picked for the opener.

Delhi Capitals made the most of a stunning late collapse by Kings XI Punjab to triumph in a super over at the end of an IPL thriller on Sunday. 

Marcus Stoinis made 53 from 21 deliveries as Delhi recovered from a shocking start to post 157-8, though their fightback appeared in vain when their opponents matched their total with three balls to spare. 

However, needing just one more run to prevail, Kings XI were somehow unable to get over the line, losing wickets off the final two deliveries. 

Mayank Agarwal was the first of those to depart having made a superb 89, the opener rescuing his side after they had slipped to 55-5 in their reply. 

He hit 10 runs off Stoinis' first three deliveries at the start of the 20th over, but the bowler hit back when a wide full toss was slapped to Shimron Hetmyer in the deep.

Chris Jordan then clipped a full toss straight to Kagiso Rabada at square leg to leave the scores level, meaning a super over was required to decide the outcome of a see-saw contest.

Kings XI managed two runs off the opening ball but Rabada then claimed a pair of wickets, leaving Delhi needing three. They easily reached the paltry target to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

STOINIS STUNS KINGS XI

Having come together at 13-3, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant made 39 and 31 respectively. Still, when both fell in successive balls, the Capitals were reeling at 87-5.

Stoinis, though, emphatically changed the tempo of the innings. Kings XI leaked 57 from the final three overs – including 30 off the last, bowled by Chris Jordan – as Delhi finished with a flourish.

PAINFUL OUTING FOR ASHWIN

Playing against his former franchise, Ravichandran Ashwin's involvement was cut short when he suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

The India spinner claimed two wickets in his opening over before getting hurt when diving to stop a ball, forcing him to leave the field with his left arm in a makeshift sling.

PAIR FOR POORAN

It is not often you get to bat twice in a Twenty20 game. However, Nicholas Pooran failed to capitalise on either opportunity he had for Kings XI.

The West Indies batsman was dismissed by Ashwin first time around and then, called into action again in the super over, was cleaned up first ball by Rabada.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will head into the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season in a record-breaking mood as he looks to topple either the fastest 100 or fastest 50 competition record.

Such marks will, however, not be easy to eclipse.  India batsman K.L. Rahul currently holds the record for the fastest 50, achieved in a meagre 14 balls, in 2018.  The fastest century was smacked by no other than legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle who reached the mark, in 2013, in just 30 deliveries.

Pooran has, however, looked in good form recently.  Just last month, he cracked 10 sixes in a 45-ball epic worth 100 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

"Any. Fastest fifty or the fastest hundred,” Pooran replied when asked which record, he would like to break in a recent Espn Cricinfo interview.

The player, however, also reflected on his performance in the IPL, which he believes could have been better.

 "I don't think that I've too many great IPL performances. I had a couple of scores last year and the one against the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) was good."

The batsman represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last season.

 

 

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle is free to join the Kings XI Punjab training camp, ahead of the new IPL season, after twice testing negative for the coronavirus.

The 41-year-old may have had cause for concern after reports suggested that he attended the celebrity-filled birthday party of sprint star Usain Bolt last week.  Bolt tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday.

"Couple days ago. 1st COVID-19 test...Before travel I need 2 negative test," Gayle's Instagram feed read. In another post, he wrote, "The last one went a bit too far in my nose. Phew. Result was negative."

"I'm going to stay home for 2020... not gonna travel again...nah sah! Tan a mi yard!! Keep the change! Excuse me!" he added.

The player will, however, be subject to more testing once he arrives in the UAE, where the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be staged this year.

On arrival, Gayle will receive a test at the airport, followed by six days of isolation.  During that period, he will be tested on days one, three and five.  Players and all personnel that will be part of this year’s competition must be cleared before they can enter the biosecure bubble.  Gayle had been expected to take part in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where he would have represented the St Lucia Zouks, but opted out of the competition.

 

 

 

West Indies fast bowler, Sheldon Cottrell, has admitted he was too nervous to keep watching the IPL draft bidding process, once it landed on his name, but is now eager to give it his all in a first season with Kings XI Punjab.

The Mohali-based franchise splashed out a handsome Rs 8.5 crore (US$1,139,160.65) for the fast bowler who has become known as much for his blistering pace as his Rockstar-style army salute.  During the draft, however, the former army man admits that he had simply hoped to be selected and could not stand to watch for the figure the gavel would eventually rest at.

“I was in a hotel room with Evin Lewis. So, I watched everyone’s auction before me and I was comfortable watching it. But then when my turn came, I was like ‘oh man!’. And when I was heard the first bid on me, I just went to the balcony and I was like ‘yes!’. I didn’t want to see it anymore, I wanted to see just one bid, to be honest. ‘Yes, I am going to play in the IPL!’. But then two minutes after the bidding was still going, I took a peek and Evin Lewis was more excited than I was. I was just nervous. But yes, it was a great feeling. I can never forget that feeling and moment ever in my life,” Cottrell said in a recent interview with WION.

The onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, however, put the player's dream debut on hold.  With the tournament, which will now be held in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled to bowl off next month, Cottrell is shifting into competition mode.

“I am really looking forward to it. I have been waiting for this for all my cricketing career, to tell you the truth. But more eagerly in the past four to five months. I have been ready mentally and physically. Even with the lockdown, I have been keeping myself in shape, ready, just in case the call comes. So I am totally ready and can’t wait to go onto the park with the Kings XI Punjab.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons is not be concerned that the life-changing contract awarded to Sheldon Cottrell to play for the Kings XI Punjab in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will impact his cricket.

Kolkata Knight Riders splashed out a record INR 15.5 crore for Australia star Pat Cummins in the IPL auction on Thursday.

Cummins had been the subject of bids from both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals before Knight Riders gazumped their rivals.

The deal, worth roughly $2.2million, makes Cummins the most expensive overseas buy in IPL history.

The top-ranked Test bowler previously played in Kolkata in 2014 and 2015, along with Delhi Capitals in 2017. He missed the 2018 tournament with Mumbai Indians through injury.

Cummins has 17 wickets, at a rate of 29.35, in his 16 career IPL matches to date.

He is joined at Knight Riders by England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, whose reward for 2019 Cricket World Cup success is a much-improved deal.

Morgan, who is set to lead England again at the 2020 T20 World Cup, fetched INR 5.25 crore - more than double his wage for Kings XI Punjab in his most recent appearance in 2017.

Meanwhile, Cummins was not the only quick to welcome a big contract on Thursday, as debutant Sheldon Cottrell went to Kings XI for INR 8.5 crore.

And Indians signed Nathan Coulter-Nile for INR 8 crore.

Rajasthan Royals brought Jaydev Unadkat back for a third straight year, this time for a more modest INR 3 crore having spent top fees on the 28-year-old at the past two tournaments.

Glenn Maxwell went to Kings XI for INR 10.75 crore, while Royal Challengers sent INR 10 crore to Chris Morris.

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