Kings XI Punjab beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets on Thursday and keep their slim playoffs hopes alive. It was KXIP’s second victory in the eight games they played in this season.
Chasing 172, KXIP struggled till the last ball of the second innings and eventually won the match on the very last ball of the over 20 where Nicholas Pooran smashed a six and helped his team in registering a second victory.
Earlier in the match, Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first. Royal Challengers Bangalore, batting first, posted a score of 171 for 6 in the scheduled 20 overs.
KXIP started very well as KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, the two opener batsman of Punjab shared a 78-run partnership for the first wicket. Yuzvendra Chahal broke the stand by dismissing Agarwal for 45.
Chris Gayle then joined hands with KL Rahul and shared a 93-run partnership to direct his team towards an easy win. Both the veterans had completed their half-century. While KL Rahul smashed 61 runs off 49 deliveries and remained unbeaten, Gayle smashed 53 off 45 balls. But the match didn’t end as it was expected, KXIP needed two runs from the final over of Yuzvendra Chahal, Gayle and Rahul somehow managed to score just 1 from the first four balls. And on the fifth ball of the over, Chris Gayle was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal. Nicholas Pooran then came to bat and smashed a six on the last ball.
Speaking after the game, KXIP skipper KL Rahul said he had no idea about how the match went so close in the end. He also added that his team’s position in the points table is not a reflection of the team’s quality.
“I have no idea, it’s (heartbeat) the highest it can be. I don’t even have words. We knew we had to scrape and get over the line. We are a far better side than where we are in the points table. It just got too close for comfort, happy that we crossed the line,” said KL Rahul.
“As a group, we have been disappointing. It can get frustrating. Our skills were good, but we didn’t capitalize on the big moments. It becomes a habit – winning and not winning. There are ups and downs and this has been the roller-coaster. We wanted this win to get some confidence in the group. It’s my first time as captain, for me it’s always about winning. The personal performances haven’t been on the mind too much,” he added.
Rahul also mentioned how Gayle, who was playing his first game in the ongoing tournament, wanted to be a part of the playing 11 from the start of the season.
“He’s (Gayle) not been feeling well in the last couple of weeks. But, he is hungry even at 41. He always wanted to play on the first day. He was training hard, he wanted to be out in the park. It was a tough call to make and not make him play. It’s important to keep the lion hungry. Wherever he bats, he’s dangerous. He’s taken it up as a challenge as well. He’ll still be intimidating,” Rahul concluded.