To stay alive in the playoffs race, Steve Smith-led Rajasthan Royals registered an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Friday at Abu Dhabi. On the back of Chris Gayle‘s blistering 99 off 63 balls, KXIP managed to amass a challenging 185-run total on the scoreboard.
However, Gayle’s batting exploits went in vain as RR hunted down the total in just 17.3 overs to clinch two vital points under their belt. RR got off to a quick start due to Ben Stokes’ 50 off 26 balls. Sanju Samson (48) and Robin Uthappa (30) also stitched vital knocks before the Smith-Jos Buttler duo finished things off with seven wickets in hand.
Following their comprehensive victory, RR’s Rahul Tewatia pointed the team’s intent and responsibility shown by their batsmen at the top.
“We have a strong batting unit and everyone is playing with responsibility. Earlier, we used to lose wickets in the powerplay. Now, every player is taking responsibility up the top. We’re clicking with the bat and wins against MI and KXIP show the character of the team,” said Tewatia in the post-match press conference.
He further also heaped praise on the fielding effort of the side. Tewatia himself took a brilliant catch of Nicholas Pooran while standing near the boundary rope.
“Fielding is all about confidence and we’ve been putting in the hard work in practice sessions too. We adjusted well according to the lights and put up a strong fielding performance. Ben Stokes is one of our best fielders and he took a brilliant catch to boost our morale. Talking about my catch, I was at the boundary line and I jumped at the right time to pull it off,” he said.
Reflecting on the team’s batting unit, Tewatia lauded recent performances of Stokes and Samson.
“Our top order is scoring runs and our middle order also looks stronger. Everyone is taking responsibility and that’s showing in the results. Our coach had also told us to show intent and deliver our 100 per cent on the field. Ben Stokes is giving us good starts and Sanju Samson is also delivering strong performances with the bat,” concluded Tewatia