Mohali: Kings XI Punjab dented Rajasthan Royals play-off chances by beating them by 16 runs as the hosts put up an inspired bowling show led by Rishi Dhawan defending 179. Coming out for the chase, Rajasthan got off to a steady start until Dhawan removed Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson off successive deliveries to plot the downfall.
Rajasthan finally ended up with 163 runs for the loss of eight wickets on the board with James Faulkner's power hitting went in the vain at the end. Chasing 190 to win, RR were 56 for 1 in eight overs at one time and the match looked nicely poised but Dhawan's twin strikes in the next over put the hosts on the top.
Karanveer Singh then scalped Stuart Binny and Sanju Samson to take things out of RR's control. Brad Hodge, who scored 22 runs off the 17th over tried to get Rajasthan back into the match but was dismissed by Beuran Hendricks. He made 31 off 18 balls. Faulkner entertain the crowd in last couple of overs but his 35 off 13 balls were not enough to take RR home. Akshar Patel was the pick of the KXIP bowlers with figures of 3 for 24.
Earlier, put into bat first table-toppers Punjab picked up 46 runs in the last three of their innings to finish with a competitive 179 on board. Punjab openers were off to a brisk start with dashing openers Virender Sehwag dealing in boundaries from the word go but the opener got out just when he was threatening to score a big one He was caught by Vikramjeet Malik off the bowling of Australia's James Faulkner for 18 at mid on.
His partner Manan Vohra kept the scoreboard going and raced to 25 off 20 balls before he was run-out because of lazy running. Stuart Binny was the man who got him run out. After Punjab lost their second wicket with 54 on the board, a 59-run partnership between Shaun Marsh and Wriddhiman Saha got them back on the track. But when Marsh started to up the ante he was done in by a slower ball from Malik. Marsh played some good shots during his 35-ball knock and completed 4000 runs in all forms of T20 cricket.
There was also a brief interruption due to rain and after play resumed, Punjab lost Saha and RR bowlers kept the run rate in check in the middle overs. The wicketkeeper-batsman made 27 off 20 balls that included four boundaries. After that, Miller and Bailey got together and hit three towering sixes and a four between them to up the ante and finished the innings with flourish.
The duo upped the ante towards the end after being 133 for 4 at the end of 17th over, the in-form Miller and Bailey took the attack to the opposition bowlers. For Rajasthan, their bowlers generally bowled with decent control. James Faulkner though came in for some severe punishment as he gave 23 from the 19th over of the innings. Miller and Bailey scored 29 and 26 respectively.
(With PTI inputs)