Rajkot: Kings XI Punjab produced at spirited performance as they outclassed Gujarat Lions in all departments of the game to win the clash by 26 runs at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium in Rajkot on Sunday.
Chasing a stiff target, Gujarat didn't have the best of starts as Brendon McCullum was adjudged LBW off a full-toss in the first over itself off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma.
Skipper Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch steadied the innings for the hosts, hitting few boundaries in quick successions. But his innings was cut short by Mohit Sharma as the Australian was dismissed for 13.
Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab: As It Happened
Raina was joined at the crease by Dinesh Karthik and the duo started the rebuilding job for the hosts. The duo were going along nicely and kept the scoreboard ticking by taking ones and twos.
But on the last ball of the ninth over calamity struck as Axar Patel dismissed in-form Raina for 32, courtesy of a brilliant flying catch at the boundary ropes by Glenn Maxwell.
Ravindra Jadeja was the next to fall as he was caught and bowled by KC Cariappa of the last ball of the 12th over. Dwayne Smith and Aksdeep Nath too followed suit in quick successions as the Lions were reduced to 102/6.
[blurb]However, Dinesh Karthik and Andrew Tye showed some fight right at the end and the Indian wicket-keeper even went onto notch up his well-deserved half-century. But it was a bit too late as Gujarat eventually lost the match by 26 runs.[/blurb]
Earlier, riding on half-century by Hashim Amla and a late cameo by Axar Patel, Punjab posted a commanding 188/7 in their designated 20 overs.
Amla started off from where he had left in the last match and slammed two fours in the first over of the innings itself. However, in-form batsman Manan Vohra didn't have a great match with the bat as he was dismissed for just two runs in the second over by Nathu Singh.
Shaun Marsh then joined forces with Amla at the crease and the duo took the Gujarat bowlers to the cleaners. The duo hit boundaries at will and helped the team cross the 50-run mark in just the sixth over of the match.
However, the 70-run partnership was eventually broken up by Andrew Tye, who dismissed the dangerous-looking Marsh for 30 (24 balls).
[blurb]Skipper Glenn Maxwell then came out to bat for Punjab and stitched a decent partnership to steady the KXIP ship. Amla continued the onslaught and brought up his well-deserved half-century by hitting a four on then last ball of the tenth over.[/blurb]
Maxwell finally broke the shackles in the 14th over, where the Big Show bludgeoned two huge sixes off the bowling of Shubham Agarwal. However, in the same over, Punjab suffered their third their blow of the innings as a great caught and bowled effort by Agarwal sent Amla packing for 65.
Maxwell didn't last long either as his 18-ball 31 was ended by Ravinda Jadeja, who caught him plumb LBW. Axar Patel played a great hand in the last few overs of the innings to help Punjab cross the 150-run mark.
In the penultimate over of the innings, Axar hit two huge sixes and one four on the first three balls to Dwayne Smith. On the fourth ball of the over, Axar gave away an easy catch to Finch and Smith got his revenge.
But Axar had done his job by then as on the 17 balls that he had faced, the southpaw had hit 34 runs, courtesy of three fours and two sixes.
Wriddhiman Saha hit a huge six in the last over of the innings as Punjab batsmen gave the bowler a decent target to defend.