Axar Patel had a field day scoring an unbeaten 17-ball 38 with the bat, before claiming 3/11 with the ball, as Kings XI Punjab inflicted more misery on RCB beating them by 19 runs. The win keeps Punjab’s hopes of a playoff spot alive, while RCB remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 138/7 (Axar Patel 38*, Manan Vohra 25; Aniket Choudhary 2/17, Yuzvendra Chahal 2/21) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 119/10 (Mandeep Singh 46, Pawan Negi 21; Axar Patel 3/11, Sandeep Sharma 3/22) by 19 runs.
Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to field and announced that West Indian duo Chris Gayle and Samuel Badree had been brought back to replace Travis Head and Adam Milne respectively. Meanwhile, Glenn Maxwell, needing to win their two games in hand, named an unchanged side for the game.
Bowlers put RCB on top
Hashim Amla showed why cricket is considered to be the gentleman’s game when he walked off, without a single RCB player appealing, after edging an Aniket Choudary delivery to Kedar Jadhav in the first over. But things got worse for the batting side when Martin Guptill perfectly found Pawan Negi on the cover boundary, three overs later. More importantly, the double blow meant that the Kings could only manage 35 runs at the end of the powerplay. Shaun Marsh had done well to play himself in but while attempting to hit Pawan Negi over the midwicket fence, the Aussie could only find the palms of Mandeep Singh. Manan Vohra tried to up the ante by smashing Negi for a beautiful shot over long on as Punjab found themselves with a mere score of 55/3 at the midway point.
Patel ensures KXIP end on a high
Vohra, too, suffered a similar fate as Marsh two overs later, leaving the Kings in all sorts of trouble at 63/4. The landslide fall of wickets meant that Glenn Maxwell was left to do the saviour’s job, once again. Though the KXIP got boundaries in the 14th over through byes off Yuzvendra Chahal, the spinner had the last laugh as Maxwell top edged one to Badree. Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel put some pressure on the home side by taking 26 runs off two overs but Shane Watson ended the 34 run partnership in the 18th over by cleaning up the former with a slower ball. With two overs to go, Punjab would have hoped to pile on the runs in the death overs, but Aniket Choudhary bowled an incredible wicket maiden in the penultimate over. Which meant that Patel, who smashed Watson for 19 runs in the last over, could only guide his side to a modest score of 138/7 after 20 overs.
Sandeep Sharma’s triple strike gives Punjab hope
With early wickets the need of the hour, Sandeep Sharma gave Punjab the ideal start removing Chris Gayle for a duck in the first over. But the speedster wasn’t done as he sent Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers packing over his next two overs. But Mandeep Singh and Kedar Jadhav counter-attacked with a few boundaries for the home side which meant that at the end of the power play RCB had managed 46/3. Mohit Sharma deepened RCB’s wounds two overs later, by removing Jadhav for a run-a-ball six. But 16 runs from the next two overs meant that RCB, not for the first time this season, were reeling at 68/4 after half their innings.
Axar Patel comes good with the ball, as Kings keep their hopes alive
Having played an important cameo with the bat, Patel struck with the ball as well as he had Watson caught behind in the 11th over. Moreover, given that every bowler had delivered for Glenn Maxwell, it was no surprise that the Kings skipper brought himself into the attack and cleaned up the well-set Mandeep Singh for 46 in the next over.