Kings XI Punjab, on Thursday, beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets to earn a much-needed win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The win was just the second victory for KXIP in eight games this season.
Chasing 172, KXIP crossed the finishing line on the very last ball of the match. They were off yet another solid start with their in-form openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal adding 78 runs for the first wicket. Yuzvendra Chahal broke the stand when he dismissed Agarwal for 45.
Rahul and Chris Gayle then went on to score fifties to set the platform for an easy win before some late drama unfolded. With just two runs needed from the final over bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal, Gayla and Rahul somehow managed to score just 1 from the first four balls before the former was run-out. Nicholas Pooran then sealed the game with a six on the last ball.
Earlier in the match, Royal Challengers Bangalore posted 171 for 6 in the allotted 20 overs after Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch added 38 runs for the first before the former departed for 18.
Finch and skipper Virat Kohli added 24 more runs before M Ashwin sent back the Australian for 20. RCB then sprung a surprise by promoting the likes of Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube ahead of in-form AB de Villiers but the move did not yield the desired results.
The move to hold back AB de Villiers didn’t pay off either as he managed to score just 2 off 5 balls before being sent back by Mohammed Shami in the 18th over. Three balls later, Shami accounted for Kohli too as it looked like RCB would finish between 150 and 160.
But Chris Morris played a fine cameo off 25 from just 8 balls to guide RCB to a 170-plus total. Isuru Udana also played a fine hand of 10 from 5 balls.
KL Rahul’s reaction:
Speaking after the game, KXIP skipper KL Rahul said he had no idea regarding how the game went so close in the end. He also stated that his team’s position in the points table is not a reflection of the team’s quality.
“I have no idea, it’s (heart beat) the highest it can be. I don’t even have words. We knew we had to scrape and get over the line. We are a far better side than where we are in the points table. It just got too close for comfort, happy that we crossed the line,” said KL Rahul.
“As a group, we have been disappointing. It can get frustrating. Our skills were good, but we didn’t capitalize on the big moments. It becomes a habit – winning and not winning. There are ups and downs and this has been the roller-coaster. We wanted this win to get some confidence in the group. It’s my first time as captain, for me it’s always about winning. The personal performances haven’t been on mind too much,” he added.
Rahul concluded by speaking about Gayle who was playing his first game of the season. The KXIP skipper revealed that Gayle wanted to be a part of the playing eleven right from the start of the season.
“He’s (Gayle) not been feeling well in the last couple of weeks. But, he is hungry even at 41. He always wanted to play from the first day. He was training hard, he wanted be out on the park. It was a tough call to make and not make him play. It’s important to keep the lion hungry. Wherever he bats, he’s dangerous. He’s taken it up as a challenge as well. He’ll still be intimidating,” said Rahul.
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