After what felt like an eternity, Kings XI Punjab finally managed to get back to winning ways in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) when they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by eight wickets on Thursday.
The batsmen powered them to the thumping verdict at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium after five straight defeats. It was the KL Rahul-led team’s second victory of the season and they currently languish at the bottom of the table.
After restricting RCB to a moderate 171/6 at the batting heaven in Sharjah, Punjab were bolstered by skipper Rahul’s (61 not out) and Chris Gayle’s (53) half-centuries.
Opener Mayank Agarwal’s blistering 25-ball knock of 45 runs had also contributed to the cause before Punjab finished the chase in the very last ball of their innings.
Agarwal’s knock contained four boundaries and three maximums. The joy was, however, short-lived for RCB as Chris Gayle (53), who had missed the previous games, joined his skipper in the middle and the duo ensured their opponents couldn’t make any further inroads.
Gayle and Rahul shared a crucial 93-run partnership for the second wicket, steering their side closer towards a much-needed win.
However, just when KXIP leveled the score with a ball remaining, Gayle fell short of the crease and AB de Villiers did no mistake to cut short his stay, adding another twist to the contest.
Nicholas Pooran (6 not out), however, sealed a victory for KXIP, smashing Chahal for a maximum over the long-on boundary.
Both Rahul and Gayle’s innings was laced with five massive hits into the stands and a boundary each.
Earlier, Kohli’s 48 along with some valuable contributions by Chris Morris (25) and Shivam Dube (23) took RCB to 171/6.
Despite a good start, thanks to openers Aaron Finch (20) and Devdutt Padikkal (18), RCB kept losing wickets at regular intervals once the duo departed.
RCB’s last match hero AB de Villiers, who was demoted to No.6 while Washington Sundar (13) and Dube were sent ahead of him, could manage two runs before falling.
It was Morris and Isuru Udana (10 not out) who gathered some runs towards the end to help their side cross the 150-run mark and post an fighting total.
Brief scores: KXIP 177/2 wkts in 20 overs (KL Rahul 61 not out, Chris Gayle 53; Yuzvendra Chahal 1/35) beat RCB 171/6 wkts in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 48, Chris Morris 25; Murugan Ashwin 2/23) by 8 wickets
With IANS inputs