All-star of the match
It didn't end the way Ankit Rajpoot would've wanted. Kings XI crashed to a 13-run defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad, but the 24-year-old fast bowler from Kanpur can go back to his hotel with his head held high.
Rajpoot finished with career-best figures of 5 for 14 to restrict Sunrisers to 132 for 6. He took out Kane Williamson, Wriddhiman Saha and Shikhar Dhawan with a fiery little spell inside the Powerplay and followed it up with the late scalps of half-centurion Manish Pandey and big-hitter Mohammad Nabi.
For someone who didn't even start for Kings XI in the season's first four games, Rajpoot has developed into their premier Indian strike bowler over the last three matches. He showed sparks of brilliance on Monday, when his 2 for 23 helped Kings XI beat Delhi Daredevils in an absolute nail-biter, and now against Sunrisers, he continued the good work, bowling fast, generating steep bounce, and being an intolerable menace to even the classiest of batsmen.
He took charge of the 20th over as well, with Pandey and Nabi looking to finish the innings on an aggressive note. But Rajpoot conceded only six runs and removed both batsmen with a couple of yorkers to seal his five-for. It was the season's best bowling figures, and even earned him a rare Man-of-the-Match award despite being on the losing side.
The wow moment
Rajpoot set the tone in the first over of the game itself, going short to Williamson and forcing a top-edged pull to mid-off. He went short again Dhawan, squaring the left-hander up and snatching his outside edge. He collected this third wicket with a full ball that Saha mistimed to the leg side, and with Sunrisers at 27 for 3 in 4.5 overs, Rajpoot had well and truly rocked Sunrisers' boat. The figures for his first spell read 3-0-9-3.
Rajpoot's figures of 5 for 14 were the best for a Kings XI bowler. The only other Kings XI bowler to take five wickets is Dmitri Mascarenhas (5 for 23).
Rajpoot's economy of 3.50 was the best among all pacers who bowled all four overs in an IPL match this season.
It was the second-best bowling figures for a player on the losing side in all of IPL. Australia legspinner Adam Zampa holds the record with 6 for 19.
What they said
"I don't think IPL is easy. Everybody works hard and does well."Ankit Rajpoot at the post-match presentation