RR beat KXIP by 7 wickets

Abu Dhabi: Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes stole the limelight from Chris Gayle as Rajasthan Royals clicked as a unit to beat Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets and stay afloat in the Indian Premier League here on Friday.
Stokes hit a 26-ball 50 and also claimed two wickets to emerge as the star performer for his team. Earlier, Gayle had smashed a 63-ball 99 to power KXIP to 185 for four but it went in vain. Chasing 186 for a win, RR overhauled the target in 17.3 overs with Stokes top-scoring with a magnificent 26-ball 50.
Sanju Samson was also equally impressive during his knock of 48 from 25 balls.
Opener Robin Uthappa contributed 30, while captain Steve Smith, who has been struggling for form, and Jos Buttler remained not out on 31 and 22 respectively to take RR home and snap KXIP’s five-match winning streak.
RR’s collective batting effort ensured that KXIP batsman Chris Gayle’s superb 99 went in vain. During his knock, the West Indies batsman had taken his tally of sixes to 1001 in his glorious T20 career. With the win, their sixth in 13 matches, RR kept themselves alive for a spot in the play-offs with 12 points with one game left.
Despite the loss, KXIP also remained in contention with 12 points from 13 matches. RR made an explosive start to their run chase with Stokes and Uthappa stitching 60 runs inside powerplay. Stokes was in magnificent form during his short innings as he got the boundaries with ease. The star England all-rounder hit Murugan Ashwin for two sixes and a four to take 16 runs from the fourth over. He reached his fifty off 24 balls when he hoisted Chris Jordan for a six in the sixth over. But Jordan got his revenge by removing Stokes two balls later.
RR were still cruising ahead at 66 for 1 at the end of powerplay and with Samson firing on all cylinders, they went past the 100-run mark in the 10th over.
The fireworks were halted after Uthappa fell in the 11th over to Ashwin but RR were in complete control with the asking rate less than seven runs an over with seven wickets in hand.
Earlier, Gayle continued his menacing form, smashing a 63-ball 99 to steer Punjab to 185 for 4 after being put in to bat. Gayle and captain KL Rahul (46) took the RR bowlers to the cleaners, stitching 120 runs for the second wicket in 13.4 overs to help KXIP post a challenging total. (PTI)

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