Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have continued their dream resurgence after registering their fifth consecutive win in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. This time, it was a comprehensive eight-wicket win against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah on October 26.
Mandeep’s tribute to his father
Opener Mandeep Singh, who lost his father recently, played a remarkably-poised innings, scoring an unbeaten 66 (off 56 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes) to take his team home comfortable while chasing 150. “The last game, we told that we wanted to win it for him (Mandeep). Really happy for him,” said Player of the Match Chris Gayle said on his batting partner’s contribution. “The way he (Mandeep) played, it makes everyone emotional,” said KXIP captain KL Rahul after the match.
Mandeep who scored 17 in the last match wanted to ensure that not only should he get a good score, but also carry his bat. “This was very special. My father always used to tell me to remain not out in every game, definitely special. He always used to tell me, whether you score 100 or 200, you should be not out,” said an emotional Mandeep after the match.
The Gayle Force
Along with Gayle, Mandeep added 100 runs for the second wicket in 61 balls and ensured there was no chance of any fight back from KKR in the game. Mandeep’s fifty came in 49 balls, but Gayle was at his belligerent best. His half century came in just 25 balls. ‘The Universe Boss’ Gayle also hit 5 sixes and 2 fours.
“It was a very hard decision not to play him (Chris). This is the hungriest I have ever seen him. He's always positive, pushing the youngsters. We have Chris in the dressing room. Just his presence means a lot to us,” skipper Rahul said in the post-match interaction with the host broadcaster. Rahul, the Orange Cap holder, was once again among the top run scorers with 28 runs in 25 balls.
The versatile bowling attack did it for KXIP
More than the batsmen, it was once again the combined efforts of the bowlers – who were the real architects of KXIP’s win. The win took them to the fourth position on the points table for the first time this season. Glenn Maxwell again opened the bowling attack and got last match’s hero Nitish Rana for a duck. By the end of the second over, KKR had lost two more wickets (both were taken by Mohammed Shami) with a score of just 10.
Later in the inning, the leg spinners Ravi Bishnoi and M Ashwin bowled splendidly along with the pacer Chirs Jorden. The trio bowled a total of 12 overs and picked five wickets by giving away just 72 runs. Shubman Gill scored 57 runs and Eoin Morgan contributed 40 runs and the onslaught by Lockie Ferguson (24 off 13) were never going to be adequate to challenge a powerful batting line up like KXIP and that is what exactly happened.Vimal Kumar has covered multiple cricket world cups and the Rio Olympics in the last two decades. The author of 'Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century' and 'The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide' can be reached at @Vimalwa on Twitter.