KXIP maintained their winning streak as they thumped KKR by eight wickets.
The 46th match of the Indian Premier League saw action between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab. KXIP maintained their winning streak as they thumped KKR by eight wickets. Punjab’s victories on trot proved that they are looking serious about their playoffs business. Batting first, KKR posted ordinary 149/9 on the board where Shubman Gill smashed a prolific half-century (57 off 45) for the team. Eoin Morgan produced an essential 40 off his bat to get the team going.
Chris Gayle was named as the player of the match for bringing all the thunder in the game during the time of requirement. Lockie Ferguson sparked the team’s innings in the end by adding 13-ball 24. Young spinner Ravi Bishnoi displayed a splendid economy of 5.00 while picking two wickets for the team. Ace pacer, Mohammed Shami, named three scalps on his name.
While hunting the target in Sharjah, skipper KL Rahul left the pitch after contributing 28 runs from his end. However, Mandeep Singh and Universe Boss Chris Gayle displayed every inch of perfection to get two valuable points for the team. Singh added magnificent 66* off 56, and Gayle brought thunderous fifty (51 off 29) for the team. Varun Chakravarthy and Lockie Ferguson got one wicket each for KKR.
Losing skipper, Eoin Morgan said
Particularly here at Sharjah, you have to counterattack if you lose early wickets, and identify the wicket early. Disappointed with the partnerships, thought we could have scored more (runs). When we were three down, we wanted a partnership going. Around 180-190 would have been a good score, but we kept losing wickets. That’s one of the challenges this year, going from ground to ground. Hopefully we adjust to the conditions in Dubai. That’s the nature of the tournament, there are not many bad sides. Our faith is in our own hands in the last two games. I think Gill scoring runs and restricting the Kings till the 11th or 12th over, those were the positives.
Winning skipper, KL Rahul said
We decided to play positive cricket. We believed that things can turn around. A complete team performance. Batting looking good, bowling looking good, fielding has always been good. With the bubble, you don’t have your closed ones. The way he (Mandeep) played, it makes everyone emotional. When you have Anil Kumble as the coach, it’s not surprising that we have two leg-spinners. Complete team effort, a lot of effort has go to the coaches. It was a very hard decision not to play him (Chris). This is the hungriest I have ever seen him. He’s always positive, pushing the youngsters. We have Chris in the dressing room. Just his presence means a lot to us. When we started five games ago, we knew we had to win all the games. One game at a time, keep the confidence going and keep the energy going.
Player of the match, Chris Gayle said
Been training off the field when not playing. Doing my runs. Gym. Feeling good. Have a good feeling about myself and the team. Just capitalising on it, but still a long way to go. We had two very good spinners, we had to make a quick adjustment. Quickly assess what they were doing. And once you get going, you ease the pressure off Mandeep as well. Sunil has got me out so many times. He is the best spinner in the world. So when you get a wicket like this, when it is not turning much, you got to cash in. Mandeep is going through a lot. Last game we said we have to win it for him. So beautiful to watch him in the middle pointing out to his father watching from above. And dad, my dad, I love you. Today the coach asked the senior players, we need to step up in crucial games, I am glad we were able to put my hand up. And the youngsters in the team are telling me, ‘Don’t retire.’
Mandeep Singh said
This was very special. My father always used to tell me to remain not out in every game, definitely special. He always used to tell me, whether you score 100 or 200, you should be not out. I had a talk with Rahul before the start of the game. Last game I was trying to score quicker and I wasn’t comfortable doing that. I told Rahul if I play my normal game, I will win the game and I had the belief. He (Rahul) told me to back my game and play the way I want to play, pretty happy with the win. He (Gayle) was just telling me to keep batting and play till the end and I just told him that he should never retire. He is too good. We are very excited.