IPL 2016: Axar Patel’s hat-trick seals win for Kings XI Punjab

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Image Courtesy: © IPL

IPL 2016: Axar Patel’s hat-trick seals win for Kings XI Punjab

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Arun S Kaimal


Axar Patel’s four-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, helped Kings XI Punjab defeat Gujarat Lions by 23 runs to register their second win of the season at Rajkot on Sunday. Earlier, KXIP posted a respectable total of 154 on the board on the back of newly appointed skipper Murali Vijay’s 55 off 41.

Brief Scores: KXIP 154 all-out in 19.5/20 overs (Vijay 55(41), Saha 33(19), Kaushik 3/20) beat GL 131/9 in 20 overs (Faulkner 32(27), Kishan 27(24) Axar 4/21) by 23 runs

47, 112, and 93 were the partnerships between Gujarat's opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum in the last three games, and all three results had gone in favour of the Lions. However, this time, Smith and McCullum failed at the top of the innings. The target of 155 did not look so ominous at the start, but within seven overs into the innings, Kings XI bowlers sent back half the batting line-up to the dressing room to dominate the match.

McCullum was the first to go as he missed a straight one from Mohit Sharma in the second over to see his stumps castled. Skipper Raina suffered a similar fate in the fifth over after attempting an across the line hoick. Just 36 runs came in the powerplay, and if that was not enough, Axar Patel provided a triple breakthrough in his opening over to leave the table toppers reeling at 39/5 at the end of seven overs. Smith miscued a shot straight to Gurkeerat at long-off to depart for 15. After one uneventful delivery in between, Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Bravo heard the sound of the timber in back-to-back balls as Axar danced to the Champion song.

But, Axar was not finished. He returned in the 11th over and registered the first hat-trick of this IPL season by removing Jadeja in the first ball of the over. The left-arm spinner fired one outside off and found a thin edge off Jadeja’s bat to send the ball into Saha’s gloves. With the home side needing 98 runs off the remaining 59 balls with just four wickets in hand, the rest of the match seemed a mere formality. Although James Faulkner's knock of 32 off 27 balls took the team close, the loss of early wickets proved to be too costly as they finished 24 runs away from a victory. 

Earlier, after a failed experiment with David Miller, Kings XI Punjab turned to Murali Vijay to lead the team for the rest of the IPL. Captaining for the first time in the IPL, Vijay made four changes to the side that lost against Mumbai Indians in the last game. He brought in Gurkeerat Singh, KC Cariappa, Wriddhiman Saha, and Marcus Stoinis in place of Manan Vohra, Pardeep Sahu, Mitchell Johnson, and Nikhil Naik.

On the other hand, Gujarat Lions came into the match sitting comfortably at the top of the table and retained the same team that defeated Rising Pune Supergiants on Friday. Five out of six wins for the Gujarat Lions came chasing, and it was not a surprise when Raina won the toss and elected to bowl first at Rajkot.

If captaincy was affecting Miller’s batting, for Vijay it was an opportunity. The Tamil Nadu batsman led from the front and gave the team a good start to the innings by forming a 65-run opening stand with Australian Marcus Stoinis. Stoinis had a slow start, but Vijay was ruthless against the Lions’ bowlers and kept the runs flowing by sending Praveen Kumar to the ropes thrice in the third over. Stoinis joined in on the fun in the next over and smashed Ravindra Jadeja for a six and four to take the team past the fifty-run mark.

The run rate was 9.83 at the end of the powerplay, and everything was looking good for Kings XI Punjab. But, in a matter of 14 deliveries, the away side went from 59/0 to 73/4. Stoinis fell to Jadeja, and mystery spinner Shivil Kaushik removed Shaun Marsh and Maxwell in a brilliant opening over. If that was not enough, Gurkeerat Singh ran himself out to leave them struggling in the 9th over. Murali Vijay kept one end going and brought up his half-century in the 12th over to give the dressing room some joy. However, that did not last long as Vijay’s slog sweep off Shivil Kaushik carried straight to Bravo at deep midwicket.

David Miller and Wriddhiman Saha formed a 39-run partnership for the sixth wicket to give the scoreboard some respectability. But, once Miller departed in the 18th over, the other batsmen followed him one after another to the dressing room, and Gujarat Lions bundled Kings XI Punjab out for 154 with one ball remaining in the innings.  

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