Kings XI Punjab started their 2019 Indian Premier League campaign with a 14-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur.
The stars of the show were Chris Gayle and the bowlers. Gayle smacked 79 off 47 balls to power Kings to 184 for four before bowlers staged a brilliant comeback after a Jos Buttler onslaught - who scored 69 off 43 balls, mandkaded by Ravichandran Ashwin.
Chasing 185, Rajasthan openers Ajinkya Rahane and Buttler cruised to 78 in eight over before Rahane fell for 27, bowled by Ashwin. Buttler than added 30 for the second wicket partnership with Sanju Samson (30) before he was dismissed by Ashwin. Steve Smith (20) and Samson added 40 more for the third wicket before both fell off Sam Curran, leaving 35 in last three overs. With Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi in the middle, the target looked very much in the reach of the home side but young Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman removed both in the 18th over for 6 and 1 respectively, giving away just 8 runs. Mohammad Shami bowled the next over, conceding just six runs, including the run out of Jofra Archer (2). With 21 required off the last over, Ankit Rajpoot removed Krishnappa Gowtham (3) and Jaydev Unadkat (1) off the first two balls of the over before conceding just six off the next four balls to seal the victory.
Curran, Mujeeb and Rajpoot took two wickets each.
Earlier, after being asked to bat first, Chris Gayle (79) added 56 and 84 with Mayank Agarwal (22) and Sarfraz Khan (46*) to steer Punjab past 180 after the early dismissal of KL Rahul (4).
Ben Stokes took two for 48.
Chris Gayle was declared the player of the match for his blistering fifty.