Mandeep Singh and Chris Gayle led the way as Kings XI Punjab continued their comeback story with an eight-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League on Monday.
Chasing a target of 150, KXIP got home in 18.5 overs and registered their fifth successive match to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Gayle, who was overlooked and was also ill during the first phase, played a fine innings of 51 off 29 balls with five sixes. Mandeep, who is grieving the loss of his father, anchored the chase with an unbeaten 66 off 56 balls.
Such was the effect of the Gayle-storm that it rubbed off on Mandeep (8x4, 2x6) who also completed a splendid sixth IPL half-century. The duo added 100 runs from 61 balls to take KXIP to victory with seven balls to spare.
KXIP’s dream run of five wins on the bounce not only took them to the top-four but also opened up the table before the penultimate round.
KKR slipped to fifth with 12 points from 12 matches as with a negative run rate of (-0.479) things have become more difficult for them.
Opting to field, Kings XI Punjab dished out a disciplined bowling show, especially at the back-end, to restrict Kolkata Knight Riders to a modest 149/9.
Mohammed Shami (3/35) was the pick of the Kings XI Punjab bowlers while leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/20) and Chris Jordan (2/25) claimed two wickets apiece to put the brakes on KKR.
After a familiar jittery start, KKR got the innings going with opener Shubman Gill (57 off 45 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (40) firing in the powerplay.
But Jordan pulled things back for his team by brilliantly mixing up his slow deliveries, while Bishnoi took the prized wicket of Morgan after KKR reached 54/3 inside the powerplay.
Morgan holed out to Murugan Ashwin at deep square leg as Bishoi ended the free-flowing partnership for 81 runs from 47 balls, and from then on KKR struggled to get going.
Earlier, KKR had another poor start and looked in deep trouble at 10/3 inside two overs after Shami’s exceptional first over.
But Morgan and Gill counter-attacked beautifully, getting the much-needed fours and sixes. The duo made full use of the powerplay restrictions and Shami conceded 21 runs from his third over. Gill showed his sheer class and timing, smacking Shami for back-to-back sixes.
This was after opener Nitish Rana got out for a golden duck and Shami dismissed Rahul Tripathi (7) and Dinesh Karthik (0) in the space of three balls.
Brief Scores: KKR 149/9 (Shubman Gill 57 off 45 balls, Mohd Shami 3/35) lost to KXIP 150/2 in 18.5 overs (Mandeep Singh 66 no off 56 balls, Chris Gayle 51 off 29 balls).
(With inputs from PTI)
Watch highlights of the match below: