Half-centuries from Mandeep Singh and Chris Gayle helped the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) pick up a dominating 8-wicket win over the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 46th match of IPL 2020 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Courtesy of the win, KXIP moved into fourth position on the IPL 2020 points table for the first time this season, after having spent the first half of the tournament rooted to bottom position with just one win from seven matches.
Needing to scale down a relatively easy 150-run target, the KXIP openers KL Rahul and Mandeep started rather cautiously, stitching a 36-run stand at the end of the powerplay stages.
Just as KXIP skipper Rahul looked to open up the gates, he was caught in front by a slider from Varun Chakravarthy and walked back for a 25-ball 28. Chris Gayle walked out to bat amidst loud cheers from those present at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and the big Jamaican put on quite a show.
The burly West Indian struck five sixes, and two fours enroute to his 29-ball 51, but the real hero for KXIP was opener Mandeep, who remained unbeaten on 66 off 56 balls, collecting eight fours and depositing two balls over the ropes during his stay at the crease.
Eventually the 100-run partnership between Mandeep and Gayle helped KXIP cruise towards the target and helped the Rahul-led side cross the line with seven balls to spare.
Mohammed Shami troubles KKR with the new ball
The Knight Riders were pegged onto the backfoot early on after Rahul put them in to bat first, with Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Shami removing Nitish Rana (0), Rahul Tripathi (7) and Dinesh Karthik (0) within the second over to leave them reeling at 10/3.
Shubman Gill and KKR skipper Eoin Morgan joined forces in the middle and went about steadying the batting effort, with the duo's 81-run partnership swinging the momentum back towards the Knight Riders.
However, young Ravi Bishnoi removed Morgan on the fifth ball of the 10th over, and failures from the lower middle-order meant that KKR were soon staring down the barrel at 114/7 in the 16th over.
Lockie Ferguson turned out to be a star performer with the bat for KKR though, with the New Zealander scoring a 13-ball 24, and on the back of important knocks from Gill (45-ball 57), Morgan and Ferguson, the Knight Riders finished with 149/9 on the board.
IPL 2020: KKR v KXIP, Who won man of the match yesterday?
'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle was at his aggressive best against the Knight Riders, slamming a half-century while making the most use of the short boundaries on offer at Sharjah.
Gayle walked in to bat in the 8th over with KXIP needing 103 runs to get off the remaining 12 overs. While Mandeep Singh opted to take the backseat, Gayle went on the offence and pummeled the bowlers all over the park, getting to his half-century off 25 balls with an inside edge that beat a dive from KKR wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
Although Gayle was dismissed off the first ball of the 19th over, KXIP required just three runs to get off two overs, and they got over the line just four balls later. And for his whirlwind knock, Chris Gayle was named the Man of the Match in yesterday's IPL match.Published 26 Oct 2020, 23:49 IST