Rajkot | The Gujarat Lions fell like nine pins chasing a modest total of 155 completely dumbfounded by some disciplined bowling from the Kings XI bowlers, highlighted by Axar Patel’s hat-trick and shrewd captaincy from their new captain Murali Vijay. In the process they recorded a 23-run victory; only their second win in the competition and would be looking to build on this win going forward in the tournament.
A change in leadership, as many as four changes in personnel and it definitely resulted in a change of fortunes. Murali Vijay raked in some fresh faces with a renewed intent and hoped for a miracle in their campaign that had been going through a rut of late. Kings XI were put in to bat by Suresh Raina and things looked quite good for the visitors as openers Vijay and Marcus Stoinis went about scoring at a brisk rate in the power play. They were a whopping 59/0 at the end of six overs and they looked well poised for a 180-plus score. Vijay and Stoinis had laid a perfect platform for the same but then came the downfall.
It all began to change after the power play as Ravindra Jadeja first put the brakes on their run-scoring by getting Stoinis out stumped for 27. Shivil Kaushik; the man who was reminding everyone time and again of Paul Adams then took center stage and got Shaun Marsh out caught for just one. In the very next ball he got Glenn Maxwell out caught behind for a duck much to Maxwell’s surprise who didn’t believe he had nicked the ball. To make matters worse, Gurkeerat Mann was out run-out for a duck in the very next over and Kings XI were let tottering at 74/4 after nine overs.
It then required Murali Vijay to steady the ship which he did for some point of time in the process bringing up his second half century of the competition. But he too departed trying to up the ante handing young Kaushik his third wicket who ended up with figures of 3/20 in his four overs. New man in David Miller scored a fighting 31 but it was Wriddhiman Saha’s 19-ball 33 that really got the scoreboard moving. When Saha departed the score read 151/8 which left Dwayne Bravo and Praveen Kumar to clean up the tail. Just three more were added to the total after that.
The chase was meant to be a cake walk for Gujarat Lions and Dwayne Smith made his intentions clear right from the very first over as he whacked Sandeep Sharma for a six and a boundary to start with. His opening partner Brendon McCullum though had a troubled time at the crease and his stay at the crease was ended by Mohit Sharma who got him bowled for 1. Suresh Raina provided a couple of lusty blows but he too was undone by Mohit for 18.
From here on began the great slide for the Lions courtesy one of Gujarat’s own Lions Axar Patel. He first got Smith out caught in the deep, then clean bowled Karthik and slid one into Dwayne Bravo’s stumps – all in one over. Patel was on a hat-trick and he returned to claim it in the eleventh over as he got Ravindra Jadeja caught behind for 11. Patel ended up with figures of 4/21 in his four overs. Young Ishan Kishan and James Faulkner tried to fight it out, but found the going tough with the run-rate reaching steep levels. Kishan was run-out for 27 and though Faulkner tried his best to hit a few out of the park, he was far from successful in doing so often finding the fielders in the deep. He was out caught for 32 chasing in pursuit of scoring 30 from the last over. In the end it was too much to ask for from the tail and Kings XI managed to record their first win after three consecutive losses.
Kings XI Punjab: 154 in 20 overs (M Vijay 55, W Saha 33, S Kaushik 3/20) beat Gujarat Lions 131/9 in 20 overs (James Faulkner 32, I Kishan 27, Axar Patel 4/21) by 23 runs.
Axar Patel was adjudged Man of the Match for his match-winning bowling performance of 4/21.
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