KXIP’s players mark fall of a wicket during their IPL match in Sharjah on Thursday. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Despite a stupendous show of batting by KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, Kings XI Punjab (KIXP) had to dig deep to eke out a nail-biting eight-wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their must-win IPL game on Thursday.
Chasing 172 to win, Punjab made heavy work of what should have been a cakewalk after wobbling in the last over to edge past Bangalore off the last ball of the match to end their five-game skid in Sharjah.
Yuzvendar Chahal bowled an eventful last over as Bangalore almost pulled off a heist after the match took a dramatic turn. Punjab were cruising nicely towards the target with both Rahul and Gayle on the crease, having crossed their respective fifties. Punjab needed two runs off the last over with nine wickets in hand.
Chahal bowled two dot balls before Gayle took a single off the third. They needed only a winning run off three remaining deliveries. Chahal delivered another dot to mount the pressure and bring the equation down to one needed off the last two. Rahul tried to steal a cheeky single but an agile Devdutt Padikkal found Gayle short of his ground.
With Rahul at the non-striker’s end, Punjab were under enormous pressure. Nicholas Pooran held his nerve, smashing a six to seal a hard-fought victory for Punjab off the last ball to all but end Bangalore’s hopes of a Super Over.
Earlier, Mayank Agarwal and Rahul shared a 78-run stand for the first wicket to set the tone for a successful chase.
Agarwal was more brutal of the two as he belted a quick-fire 25-ball 45 before Chahal rattled his stumps to give Bangalore their first breakthrough.
After his departure, Gayle joined Rahul as the duo dominated a hapless Punjab attack with a flurry of sixes and boundaries.
Rahul raced to his fourth fifty of the season off 31 balls with a single while Gayle brought up his maiden fifty off 36 deliveries. Rahul’s unbeaten 49-ball 61 was studded with five sixes and a four while Gayle also hit a similar number of boundaries and as many over the fence.
Earlier, Isuru Udana (10) and Chris Morris (25) smashed 24 off the last over to propel Bangalore to 171/6.
Bangalore were struggling for much of the innings despite getting off to a sound start given by openers Aaron Finch (20) and Padikkal (18), as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals after the opening stand was broken.
AB de Villiers (2) was demoted to No. 7 with Washington Sundar (13) and Shivam Dube (23) being sent ahead of him. De Villiers came in during the 18th over and was dismissed by Mohammed Shami after scoring just two runs off five balls.
Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul expressed his delight on hitting the turf after a period of almost five months.
In a major blow to Chennai Super Kings, veteran batsman Suresh Raina will not be available for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) slated to be played in the UAE from Sept.19.
The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set for a blockbuster opening with defending champions Mumbai Indians resuming their long-standing fabled rivalry with seasoned favourites Chennai Super Kings on Saturday evening at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
In winning her first Grand Slam title, Swiatek was also the youngest woman to win the French Open since Monica Seles in 1992. She was the first Polish woman to reach the final of the Roland Garros tournament in 81 years.
Five games into a Premier League season full of goals and drama, each of the traditional ‘big six’ have dropped at least five points, and the title race is wide open. Unbeaten Everton and Aston Villa are the surprise pace-setters
Ronald Koeman will know Barcelona can plunge Real Madrid into crisis on Saturday but for him a first Clasico as coach is more about vindication. Inflicting a third consecutive defeat in a week on Real at Camp Nou would create
Juventus warm-up for their Champions League clash against Barcelona with a Serie A home tie against Hellas Verona on Sunday, trying to close the gap on leaders AC Milan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan, who next host Roma, are flying high,