Royals reach play-offs as Kings XI come up short

By Rob Lancaster 21 May 2018 345
Royals reach play-offs as Kings XI come up short

Rajasthan Royals finished in the final play-off spot in the Indian Premier League after Kings XI Punjab failed to get the convincing win they needed against Chennai Super Kings.

After they managed 153 all out, Kings XI knew they needed to dismiss their opponents for 100 or less if they were to leapfrog into fourth place in the table.

The early signs were promising when they reduced the Super Kings - already certain of a place in the knockout stages - to 27-3, the impressive Ankit Rajpoot claiming two of the early wickets to fall.

However, Suresh Raina made an unbeaten 61 as Chennai comfortably ended Kings XI's slim hopes on their way to a five-wicket triumph.

Deepak Chahar dominated a fifth-wicket stand worth 56, hitting three sixes as he thrashed 39 in a hurry, as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side reached their target from the first delivery of the last over.



With a negative net run-rate, Kings XI knew they needed to be victorious by a big margin if they were to overtake the fourth-placed Royals in the standings.

Yet their hopes of posting a big total to put pressure on the Super Kings disappeared when they lost big guns Chris Gayle, KL Rahul and Aaron Finch inside the opening four overs.

Manoj Tiwary (35) and David Miller (24) put on a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket before Karun Nair blasted 54.

Lungi Ngidi was the pick of the Chennai attack with 4-10; the South Africa paceman followed up two early scalps by removing Ravichandran Ashwin and Andrew Tye for ducks in the 18th over, as Kings XI were dismissed with two balls to spare.



Seamer Rajpoot's double strike raised the prospect of Kings XI extending their 2018 season, as he dismissed Faf du Plessis and Sam Billings - bowled for a first-ball duck - in a lively opening spell.

Ambati Rayudu also went cheaply, but Finch crucially dropped Harbhajan Singh at second slip during an absorbing powerplay, letting the pinch-hitter off the hook.

Harbhajan went on to make 19 yet his departure with the score on 58 allowed Chahar to come in and produce a 20-ball cameo that gave Chennai's innings some much-needed momentum.

Requiring 34 from 18 deliveries, Raina proceeded to take 22 from the penultimate over, bowled by leading wicket-taker Tye, before Dhoni completed the job in style, launching Mohit Sharma for six as he surpassed 4,000 IPL runs during his brief knock of 16 not out.

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Rob Lancaster