KINGS XI Punjab picked up their second win of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL), with KL Rahul’s unbeaten half-century guiding them to an eight-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians.Having beaten Rajasthan Royals in their first match but then come up short against Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI chased down a target of 177 with eight balls to spare to make it two wins from three.Mumbai posted 176-7 in their 20 overs, Quinton de Kock (60) making the most significant knock, while Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen and Murugan Ashwin took two wickets apiece.In Kings XI’s reply, Chris Gayle (40) smashed four sixes and three fours in a brisk opening partnership with Rahul (71 not out), who received good support from Mayank Agarwal (43) and David Miller (15 not out)After a bright start from Rohit Sharma (32) and de Kock, Kings XI were able to halt Mumbai’s progress by dismissing the Indian opener and Suryakumar Yadav in quick succession.de Kock eventually brought up his 50, his first of this year’s IPL, with a slog to long on that narrowly missed Agarwal and bounced once before clearing the rope. Just as it looked as if the South African would kick on, hitting a wonderful six over square leg, he was gone, trapped lbw by Shami.Yuvraj Singh was the next to fall, picking out Shami at square leg off Ashwin’s bowling, while Agarwal took a wonderful catch on the boundary to dismiss Kieron Pollard before Hardik Pandya helped propel his side to 176-7 with a hard-hitting 31 off 19 balls.After surviving a pair of early speculative lbw shouts, Gayle fired Kings XI towards their target with a volley of sixes before holing out off Krunal Pandya’s bowling.With Rahul playing a watchful innings at the other end, the onus was on Agarwal to pick up where West Indies veteran Gayle left off and he struck a series of boundaries before being brilliantly caught-and-bowled by Krunal Pandya.The 28-year-old’s dismissal roused Rahul, who upped the tempo and soon brought up his 50. With Miller providing support at the other end, the target was ultimately chased down with time and wickets to spare.SPIN DOES THE TRICKJust as it looked as though Mumbai could be on for an imposing total, with de Kock well set and Yuvraj finding his range, the two Ashwins, Ravichandran and Murugan, were able to slow up the run rate effectively, with the latter ending with impressive figures of 2-25.Losing wickets in clusters slowed down the run rate effectively. Mumbai then subsequently failed to threaten when bowling and this ultimately led to their defeat.KINGS XI VARY THE PACEDespite his eventual match-winning knock, Rahul struggled to get out of the traps and it seemed as though the run chase was passing him by.However, he was fortunate to have batting partners who were willing to take the pressure off him, with Gayle and Agarwal happy to take on the role of aggressor.
Senior forward Kayla Overbeck will start her final postseason run Thursday against Colorado. (Ling Luo | Daily Trojan) After a 16-13 regular season and an 8-10 Pac-12 record, the USC women’s basketball team is getting set for its first matchup of the Pac-12 Tournament. Entering as a No. 7 seed, USC will play against No. 10 Colorado in Las Vegas Thursday. This marks the beginning of postseason play for the Trojans, who are coming off a three-game winning streak, including a win over the Buffaloes in Sunday’s regular season finale. USC will depend on its star freshmen, who have become forces in the Pac-12 already. Freshman guard Endyia Rogers has dropped double-digit points in 18 games this season, averaging 12.8 per game. USC in recent years has struggled to break into the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament. In the last four seasons, the Trojans have only moved past the first round twice. Rogers’ 2.7 assists per game have aided the new Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, forward Alissa Pili, who has been the scoring anchor for the Trojans and figures to play that role in Vegas. Pili had an unprecedented regular season for USC, earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors four times. The true freshman has proven unstoppable even against the NCAA’s best defenses — logging double digits in scoring against several ranked opponents — and is a top-five rebounder in the conference. Four teams have first-round byes in the tournament, meaning if USC moves past Colorado it will have a showdown with crosstown rival No. 8 UCLA. In the midst of a 1-1 season series after a double-overtime win at Galen Center in January — UCLA’s first loss of the season — this game could be a testament to how far the young team has developed over the season — should the Trojans advance. “There’s no excuse to not try that hard because this is what we’ve been waiting for,” senior forward Kayla Overbeck said. “This is the chance to win as many games as we can so we can go to the NCAA Tournament.” “We just gotta study Colorado play and anticipate any adjustments, and then we gotta make a few,” Trakh said. “But Colorado is very good. It’s going to be tough playing somebody back-to-back like that.” The Trojans tip off against Colorado Thursday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. USC is 4-8 away from its home crowd. A lack of adjustment to the demands of conference play and travel could be the reason behind this paltry road record, with the majority of the eight losses coming early while the seven freshmen on the team were transitioning from high school to collegiate level basketball. The Pac-12 is one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA and the tournament’s stacked field reflects that. But head coach Mark Trakh has shown a glimpse of the ability to lead his team far, going into the then-Pac-10 finals with his 2008-09 squad before falling to Stanford. Trakh hasn’t broken past the second round since his return to USC in 2017, but that could change with a team that has seen a late-season uptick. This year’s first round will be the deciding game for who wins the season series between USC and Colorado. The Trojans lost their first match to the Buffaloes 66-53 in the midst of their early five-game conference losing streak. While they made it up at Galen Center last weekend with a 66-55 win, the recent history does not guarantee a win for a team that has faltered on the road this season. The Buffaloes are coming in with a comparable 6-7 away record but are looking for a team ready to avenge its average regular season, which ended with a two-game losing streak. Freshman guard Endyia Rogers will look to repeat her 20-point game from Sunday against Colorado Thursday. (Ling Luo | Daily Trojan)