The costliest purchase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 auction, Ben Stokes lived up to the billing on Saturday, slamming his maiden fifty to revive a stuttering Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the fourth match of the tournament. Stokes struck a timely half-century, scoring 50 off 32 balls and added 61 runs for the fifth wicket with Manoj Tiwary to help RPS post a competitive target of 164 against an inspired KXIP at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. On his part, Tiwary played an extremely crucial innings of 23-ball 40 not out when all their big guns in the top-order were knocked over for cheap. FULL CRICKET SCORES: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), IPL 2017
Kings XI Punjab made a spirited start to their IPL campaign on Saturday on a green-top wicket at Indore, with Sandeep Sharma getting enough movement off the wicket to prise out the first wicket. Mayank Agarwal, who fell for a 5-ball six one night ago, continued to struggle for runs as he played an awkward stroke on a ball that nipped back in, and took down his middle-stump. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), IPL 2017
Rising Pune Supergiant soon realised they will have to be watchful early on, and the cautious start ensured only 3 runs were scored off the first 2 overs. The pressure was maintained well by KXIP till the fourth over, but a spilled catch by Manan Vohra at cover gave Rahane a lifeline, and the batsman followed it up with a six and a boundary off the next two balls to provide his time a move-on.
Smith joined in soon, when he cracked two consecutive boundaries off Sandeep through cover to ensure RPS ended with 32 runs in the first 5 overs. Just when RPS were looking on the road to recovery with Smith and Rahane getting quick runs, double bowling changes brought them as many wickets.
Rahane fell to the IPL debutant T Natarajan, scooping the ball straight to Marcus Stoinis at sweeper cover, falling for a 15-ball 19. One over later, Smith, who was once again looking in rich form, played a shot too early, getting a leading edge that flew straight to Vohra, who did well to grab a chance near the ropes.
KXIP did well to keep a lid on both Rahane and Smith for cheap, after they had struck impressive match-winning fifties in their previous match against Mumbai Indians (MI).
RPS were once again left with rebuilding work to do with MS Dhoni and Stokes coming together. While Stokes continued to play his shots, Dhoni decided to take some time to settle down and then launch an attack. However, Dhoni ended playing one back to Swapnil Singh in the 12th over, falling for a mere 5 off 11 balls. The bowler hobbled to collect what was a simple chance, as he managed to complete the dismissal on the fourth attempt.
More to follow…
Rising Pune Supergiant 163 for 6 in 20 overs (Ben Stokes 50, Manoj Tiwary 40*; Sandeep Sharma 3 for 33) vs Kings XI Punjab.