KXIP thump listless RCB by eight wickets in Sharjah

Chris Gayle and KL Rahul
Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have finally managed to arrest their five-match losing streak with a win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). This is their second win in eight matches and KXIP made light work of the target set by RCB at Sharjah. It was some brilliant batting from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal upfront and then the Universe Boss also entertained the viewers. Although it went to the last ball of the innings, Kings XI were always ahead in the chase.

Chasing 172, KXIP began extremely well thanks to their openers. Agarwal was the enforcer at the top as he took on RCB’s best bowler Yuzvendra Chahal in the powerplay. It was strange to see Washington Sundar not bowling in the powerplay. However, the leg-spinner castled Agarwal in the 8th over. But 78 were on the board by then with Agarwal smashing 45 off just 25 balls.

KL Rahul, at the other end, played some patient cricket and looked determined to take the team home. Chris Gayle walked out at number three and literally, there was no chance then for RCB in the game. Both the batsmen took their time in the partnership early on. It was a proper Gayle knock with the Universe Boss taking his time early on and then launched himself on the opposition bowlers at the perfect time.

Both Rahul and Gayle got to their respective half-centuries and this time, made sure that they didn’t botch up after reaching close to the target. Rather Gayle got stuck in to Sundar and Mohammed Siraj to make it a no contest and brought the required run-rate below five. However, some brilliant overs from Isuru Udana and Chris Morris took the match to the last over.

Needing two runs off six balls, Chahal was at his best and he took the game to the last ball. But KXIP finally got over the line winning the game by eight wickets thanks to Nicholas Pooran who hit the winning six in the end which was close to the long-on fielder.

RCB stutter to 171

Earlier, RCB opted to bat first and got off to a decent start with their openers adding 38 runs in 4.1 overs. Devdutt Padikkal was the first batsman to get out for just 11 runs. Aaron Finch played a few good strokes for his 20 but he was castled with a beauty of a delivery by Murugan Ashwin. Much to everyone’s surprise, Washington Sundar walked out to bat at four ahead of AB de Villiers, possibly to tackle the leg-spinners.

Virat Kohli, at the other end, made sure to keep the scoreboard ticking. However, RCB made a blunder by not sending De Villiers at least at five with Shivam Dube also batting ahead of him. Dube added 41 runs with Kohli but there was no pace to the innings at all. The left-hander scored 23 runs before getting out and after all attempts to save De Villiers from the leg-spinners, he was dismissed for just two runs by Mohammed Shami.

Despite hitting boundaries after 14th over, RCB’s score was not much even as Virat Kohli failed to up the ante. Shami got him out with a slower bouncer in the same over. At 136/6 in the 18th over, it looked like, RCB will struggle even to get to 160. However, Chris Morris had other ideas as he slammed 25* off just 8 balls and he propelled the team’s score to 171 runs in their 20 overs.

Kohli was the top scorer with 48 runs off 39 deliveries. But he would’ve loved to stay in the middle till the end. For KXIP, Ashwin was the best bowler with the figures of 2/23 while Shami and Chris Jordan were also amongst the wickets.

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