Skipper KL Rahul and swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle smashed a half-century each to help Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) register their second wicket of the ongoing 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a six-wicket victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Chasing a decent target of 172 runs to win, skipper KL Rahul and his opening partner Mayank Agarwal (45) provided a perfect start to Kings XI by sharing a crucial stand of 78 runs for the opening wicket.
After Agarwal fell short of a half-century off a Yuzvendra Chahal delivery, Rahul not only hammered a fifty off 37 deliveries but also stitched a crucial partnership of 93 runs with Chris Gayle to help his side chase down the target on the last ball and seal a thrilling win over the RCB.
Rahul ended his innings unbeaten at 41-ball 61, which was decorated with one four and five maximums. Meanwhile, Gayle–who was playing his first match of the season after recovering from food poisoning–finished his innings with 45-ball 53 runs.
The KXIP skipper has further strengthened his position at the top of the Orange Cap table with 448 runs from eighth innings. He is followed by Agarwal with 382 runs.
Earlier, RCB won the toss and opted to bat first against Punjab in Match 31 of the ongoing lucrative T20 tournament.
Skipper Virat Kohli led from the front as he scored 39-ball 48 besides stitching a crucial 41-run stand with Shivam Dube (19-ball 23 for the fourth wicket.
Chris Morris (25) and Isuru Udana (10) added 35 runs for the seventh wicket which included 24 runs off the last over from Mohammed Shami to help RCB post 171 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.
Murugan Ashwin and Mohammed Shami bagged two wickets each for Kings XI Punjab, while Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan chipped in with a wicket each.
Interestingly, KXIP’s only other victory in the ongoing season came against the Kohli’s side when they sealed a crushing 97-run triumph at the Dubai International Stadium on September 24.
Despite the win, KXIP continue to stand at the bottom of the table with two wins from eight matches. RCB remain at the second spot with five wins in hand.
Brief scores: RCB 171/6 wkts in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 48, Chris Morris 25; Murugan Ashwin 2/23) lost to KXIP 177/2 wkts in 20 overs (KL Rahul 61 not out, Chrus Gayle 53; Yuzvendra Chahal 1/35) by 8 wickets.