Axar Patel had his work cut-out. Contain AB de Villiers. Royal Challengers Bangalore needed 40 from 21 balls. Nearly two runs a ball. But this was de Villiers, the man who had scored  a world record 32 ball ODI hundred a few months back, the man who had blasted 162 from 66 balls in a World Cup match, the man who had scored 133 from 59 just three days back.  He could change the complexion of the match with a couple of hits. Patel had to get his absolutely right, or de Villiers had to get his execution wrong.

De Villiers did get it wrong. He tried to go over the fine leg fielder, who was brought inside the circle, with a cheeky sweep shot and top-edged it to present a simple catch to short fine leg. With skipper Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle already back in the pavilion, Kings XI Punjab were able to breathe a sigh of relief after dismissing de Villiers.

Axar Patel, the silent performer

Axar Patel has played all 13 matches for Kings XI this season. He has not done anything out of the ordinary. But in a team where most of the star cast failed to live upto the reputation, he has kept the fight going. Whenever, called upon to bat, he put his mind to the task at hand and scored some vital runs. It was Patel's last over hits that took the game against Rajasthan Royals to a super over, which Kings XI eventually won.

In his second over, Patel got a dangerous looking Mandeep Singh out to further drive home the advantage. The shorter and flatter delivery angled at the batsman cramped Mandeep for room and he miscued the pull to long-on.

Royal Challengers did not recover from the double-strike by Patel and found themselves short by 22 runs. This was only the third victory for Kings XI and it was fitting that it was set up by a spell from one of the few players who have shown some fight in a treacherous season. The home fans who had stayed on despite a long delay due to rain had something to cheer at last.

Saha started the fireworks

A rain delay for nearly three hours had cut the match down to 10 overs a side. In such circumstances, there is no time for contemplation. You just have to go for shots from the first ball. That is exactly what Wriddhiman Saha did. Promoted to open the batting, Saha showed no respect to Mitchell Starc. 14 runs came from the first over and the Kings XI innings started rolling without any hiccups.

Saha was even more contemptuous towards Sreenath Aravind, the left-armer who was the main tormentor when the two sides met last time. Aravind went for 20 in his first over as Saha hit him for three fours and one six.

By the time he got out for 32 from just 12 balls, Saha had ensured that a platform was set up for the more accomplished hitters in the batting line-up.  Everyone chipped in with some lusty blows to take Kings XI to a formidable 106 from 10 overs.