KL Rahul smashed his fourth half-century in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) and Chris Gayle scored a gutsy fifty as King XI Punjab secured an eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Rahul scored 61 runs off 49 balls while Gayle smashed a well-made 53 to hand KXIP their second win in the showpiece event. In the end, KXIP needed two from the last over but Yuzvendra Chahal made an uphill task for the KXIP batsmen as the match came down to 1 run from one ball. Nicholas Pooran whacked a six on the last ball as KXIP took a sigh of relief. KXIP both wins have come against RCB in the 13th edition of IPL.
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Chasing 172 runs, KXIP got off to a flyer with the opening batsmen Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul bludgeoning the RCB bowling attack.
After witnessing a sluggish start, Mayank and Rahul whacked the ball all around the park. The duo smashed 56 runs in the powerplay. Mayank didn’t allow any bowler to settle and smashed back-to-back boundaries in Yuzvendra Chahal’s first over.
However, Chahal made a comeback in the eight over and cleaned bowled Mayank to hand RCB their first breakthrough. Chris Gayle, who is playing his first match of the ongoing IPL, then joined skipper Rahul in the middle. Gayle struggled at the start of his knock but soon made up for the dot ball after smashing sixes and fours. Meanwhile, Rahul smashed his 20th IPL half-century as KXIP looked comfortable in the chase.
With the duo scoring 20 runs in the 16th over, RCB lost all hopes of winning the game. However, in the end, RCB made an uncanny comeback but failed to get over the line.
KXIP needed two from the last over but Yuzvendra Chahal made an uphill task for the KXIP batsmen as the match came down to 1 run from one ball. Nicholas Pooran whacked a six on the last ball as KXIP took a sigh of relief.
Earlier after opting to bat first, RCB set a competitive target of 172 runs on the back of Chris Morris’ impressive performance with the bat. Morris smashed an unbeaten 25 runs from just eight deliveries.
RCB got off to a good start as openers Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch struck regular boundaries. The duo formed a 38-run partnership before Arshdeep Singh got hold of Padikkal (18) in the fifth over. Soon after that, Finch (20) too was sent back to the pavilion by Murugan Ashwin.
Virat Kohli and Washington Sundar then took the field but their partnership did not last long as the latter was dismissed by Ashwin in the 11th over. Shivam Dube was the next batsman and he, along with Kohli, took the team over the 100-run mark.
Dube scored 23 runs before Chris Jordan got hold of him in the 16th over and the dismissal brought AB de Villiers out on the field.
However, de Villiers failed to impress as he scored just two runs before giving away an easy catch to Deepak Hooda off Mohammed Shami’s delivery in the 18th over. In the same over, Shami removed Kohli (48) as well, reducing RCB to 136/6.
Morris and Udana were the next batmen and both struck 24 runs in the last over to help RCB post a total of 171 runs on the board. For KXIP, Shami and Ashwin took two wickets each in the match. Brief scores: KXIP 177/2 [KL Rahul 61(49), Chris Gayle 53(45), Yuzvendra Chahal 1-35] beat RCB 171/6 [Virat Kohli 48 (39), Chris Morris 25* (8), Murugan Ashwin 2-23].