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.
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
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.
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.
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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