Mohali, April 16 (IANS) Buoyed by a World Cup call-up, KL Rahul struck a well-timed fifty but Jofra Archer stole the limelight from him with splendid figures of 3/15 as Kings XI Punjab posted 182/6 against Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League game here on Tuesday.
Rahul, who was included in the 15-member World Cup squad on Monday, took 47 balls to score 52 with the help of three fours and two sixes.A
David Miller (40 off 27 balls; 2x4; 2x6) also played a vital role as the pair stitched together a 85-run stand for the third wicket after visiting team skipper Ajinkya Rahane asked them to bat first.
But Archer bowled a brilliant second spell to not only snare two wickets in the same over but check the run flow, before Kings XI skipper R Ashwin played a 4-ball 17 run cameo to take the score past the 180-run mark.
Rahul, who scored his maiden hundred in the IPL recently, started very slowly and was 13 off 23 balls at the halfway stage. But then he shifted gears seamlessly before getting out to Jaydev Unadkat (1/48).
Kings XI lost Chris Gayle 30 (22b; 2x4; 3x6) early, the veteran southpaw edging a Jofra Archer delivery to Sanju Samson behind the stumps.
After the Powerplay overs, the home team were 39/1. Rahul and Miller then upped the ante in the 14th and 15th overs with 39 runs coming from them.
Rahul brought up his 14th fifty in the IPL in the 17th over, milking Archer for a sublime boundary between cover and mid-off but Unadkat made amends for getting spanked by the India right-hander earlier, by removing him in the 18th over, Archer taking the catch at point.
Archer then removed Nicholas Pooran (5) and Mandeep Singh (0) in the 19th over before Dhawal Kulkarni accounted for Miller, the South African trying to clear wide long on and instead giving wicketkeeper Jos Buttler an easy catch in the final over.
But just when it looked like Kings XI would finish with a whimper, Ashwin led from the front by smashing a four and two back-to-back sixes off the last two balls to finish on a high.
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 182/6 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 52; David Miller 40; Jofra Archer 3/15) vs Rajasthan Royals