Ravichandran Ashwin had a good night with bat and ball on Tuesday as he led Kings XI Punjab to victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League at Mohali.
Ashwin scored 17 off four balls as Punjab, sent in to bat by the visitors, posted a competitive 182-6. Then the off-spinner chipped in with 2-24 as Rajasthan finished 12 runs short of the target on 170-7 in their 20 overs. Ashwin was proactive on the field to put his team in joint second in the IPL table.
Punjab began well as Lokesh Rahul celebrated his selection into India's 2019 Cricket World Cup squad by scoring 52 off 47 balls, watchful by Twenty20 standards, as he put on a 38-run partnership with fellow opener Chris Gayle (30), followed by a 29-run stand with Karnataka state teammate Mayank Agarwal (26) and a further 85 runs with David Miller (40), which was key to Punjab's daunting total.
Rajasthan also made a solid start, with Rahul Tripathi (50) and Jos Buttler (23) stitching together 38 runs for the first wicket. There was no Mankading controversy involving Buttler and Ashwin this time, as there was in Rajasthan's home leg in Jaipur last month, but once the wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed, his team struggled in the middle overs.
Stuart Binny (33 from 11 balls) and captain Ajinkya Rahane (26 from 21 balls) upped the ante for the Royals but in the end it was too little too late for the visiting side who now sit just above Royal Challengers Bangalore at the base of the IPL table.
Rajasthan host Mumbai Indians in their next game on Saturday, while on the same day Punjab visit Delhi Capitals.