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Chris Gayle-Mandeep Singh duo takes KXIP to top four in IPL

After restricting KKR to 149, Mandeep Singh and Chris Gayle chased down the total comfortably to secure their fifth win on the trot.

Published: 27th October 2020 12:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th October 2020 12:44 AM   |  A+A-

Chris Gayle of Kings XI Punjab after scoring fifty runs during IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah.

Chris Gayle of Kings XI Punjab after scoring fifty runs during IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

When these two sides last met a little over two weeks back, Kings XI Punjab were left stunned as Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off an improbable victory from right under their noses.

The Punjab skipper KL Rahul said after the match that he had had 'no answers' to the slump that his team was going through or how they lost that day from a winning position.

They looked down and out, but fast forward to Monday and they look like a completely different side.

This time out, the Punjab outfit thoroughly outplayed KKR to secure an eight-wicket win, and more importantly, they are now fourth in the table and firmly in contention to qualify for play-offs.

After restricting the Kolkata outfit to 149/9, Mandeep Singh (66) and Chris Gayle (51) chased down the total comfortably to secure their fifth win on the trot. 

One of the primary reasons for Kings XI Punjab's resurgence in IPL 2020 after looking down and out just a couple of weeks back is their efficiency with the ball.

On the other hand, while Kolkata Knight Riders have managed to keep their place among the playoff berths, their batting has been unpredictable and undergoing constant experimentation.

On Monday, when these two met in a crucial encounter that was even billed as a virtual qualifier, the contest between the Mohammad Shami led bowling unit and the KKR batsmen was going to have a huge say on the outcome of the match.

In what was a see-saw battle, Knight Riders posted 149/9 from 20 overs thanks largely to the efforts of Shubman Gill (57) and skipper Eoin Morgan (40).

Other than these two and Lockie Ferguson (24 n.o) who struck a few lusty blows towards the end of their innings, Kings XI bowlers kept a check on their other batsmen.

They got off the blocks in no time. Nitish Rana once again opened the innings, but got out for a golden duck in the first over from Glen Maxwell.

Shami dismissed Rahul Tripathi (7) and Dinesh Karthik (0) in the second over as Kings had their tails up.

While those early setbacks rattled Kolkata, they showed they have enough ammunition to take on any attack and Morgan and Gill started doing some counter-punching.

An 81-run stand steadied their innings and Shami was even smacked for 21 runs in an over with Gill smashing back to back sixes.

That's when Punjab's spinners came into the equation and got them timely breakthroughs as Ravi Bishnoi dismissed Morgan and wickets started to fall at regular intervals.

The sight of Gill opening the innings for KKR has been the one constant for their batting lineup which is constantly shuffled otherwise. And the youngster was their top scorer with a well made fifty.

Besides Arshdeep Singh, all the other Punjab bowlers got wickets with Shami getting three as they once again did a commendable job with the ball.

The Kings batsmen did the rest as Mandeep and Gayle stitched together a 100-run partnership that sealed the victory.



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