Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) ended up on the losing side on Thursday but their pacer Ankit Rajpoot produced a stellar bowling performance, taking this IPL 2018's maiden five-wicket haul. Rajpoot was in top form and his five-for (5/14) restricted SRH to 132 but despite his heroics, Punjab lost to SunRisers Hyderabad by 13 runs. His line and length had SRH's star-studded triumvirate of Shikhar Dhawan (11), skipper Kane Williamson (0) and Wriddhiman Saha (6) in a complete bind. SRH were three down in 4.5 overs courtesy Rajpoot's lethal bowling display. Manish Pandey (54) played a crucial knock for SRH with a valiant fifty and it was Rajpoot again who struck and dismissed Pandey in the 20th over. Rajpoot completed his fifer with Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi's wicket. (POINTS TABLE)
Rajpoot's heroics earned him praises from former cricketer Virender Sehwag and India batsman Mohammad Kaif. "Not the result we would have liked, but happy with the first half of the tournament.5 out of 7 we will take it. Have a week's break now. Congratulations @SunRisers on the victory & a great effort from young Ankit Rajpoot becoming the first Punjab bowler to take a 5-for #SRHvKXIP", Sehwag posted on Twitter.
Not the result we would have liked, but happy with the first half of the tournament.5 out of 7 we will take it. Have a week's break now. Congratulations @SunRisers on the victory & a great effort from young Ankit Rajpoot becoming the first Punjab bowler to take a 5-for #SRHvKXIP— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 26, 2018
"Remember hearing Glenn McGrath say that he rates Ankit Rajpoot very highly. And from the matches that he has played, we know why. Gets bounce and has bowled superbly. SRH in trouble #SRHvKXIP", Kaif captioned on Twitter.
The @SunRisers can defend the undefendable. Rashid Khan is brilliant but the way Sid Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Thampi exert and maintain pressure is fantastic. Great effort to defend this against Punjab #SRHvKXIP— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) April 26, 2018
The way Ankit rajpoot Bowled today it reminds me of @IrfanPathan .— shreyansh (@shreyanshsingh2) April 26, 2018
Swing with accurate line & length and legit bowling speed.
Terrific bowling by Ankit Rajpoot (5/14) as he becomes the first bowler to register a 5-wicket haul in the VIVO @IPL 2018.— Delhi Daredevils (@DelhiDaredevils) April 26, 2018
The @SunRisers have posted a score of 132/6 and the @lionsdenkxip will fancy their chances of chasing this total down.#SRHvKXIP #IPL2018
With this feat, Rajpoot jumped to sixth place under the best-bowling figures category in history of IPL. Sohail Tanvir (6/14) still tops the list courtesy his impressive display for Rajasthan Royals in 2008. Rajpoot is also the second bowler from Kings XI Punjab after Dimitri Mascarenhas (5/25 in 2012) to take a five-for in the IPL.
Both Punjab and SunRisers are equal on equal points in the IPL 2018 standings. SunRisers, however, occupy the second spot because of a better net run-rate while Punjab are third.
SRH play Rajasthan Royals on Sunday while Punjab host Mumbai Indians on May 4 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore.