With their top run-scorer Hashim Amla back in South Africa, Kings XI Punjab chances of keeping their hopes alive for the play-offs berth rested heavily on their skipper Glenn Maxwell and the pace battery of Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Maxwell played a knock of 44 runs to set up a fighting total of 167 for 6 in 20 overs and Haryana pacer Mohit Sharma bagged Man of the Match award with two wickets to set up the 14-run win for the Kings XI Punjab and enthralling the almost packed IS Bindra PCA Stadium “We came to see Manan Vohra and Kings XI Punjab skipper Glenn Maxwell batting. Although Vohra fell after a good start, Maxwell showed that he is still among the best hitters in the IPL. The team missed the batting of Hashim Amla but Maxwell’s four sixes during his knock dented Kolkata’s confidence. He batted sensibly along with Wridhiman Saha and added 71 runs for the fourth wicket. We are glad that team won their last home match,” shared Nipun Kalia, a student at Chitkara University who had come to watch the match.
It was Kings XI Punjab’s sixth win of the season and with 12 points, the Preity Zinta co-owned team is now at the fifth spot and three points behind Hyderabad Sunrisers who have 15 points from 13 games. Kings Xi Punjab have two games remaining in the IPL and a win in the last two games with Hyderabad losing their last match would ensure Kings XI Punjab march into the semi-finals. While Mohit Sharma bagged the man of the Match award, it was the performance of another Haryana cricketer Rahul Tewatia which impressed the fans. “Mohit Sharma has been bowling well after making a comeback after the injury. He utilises the conditions well here and it was good to see Kings Xi Punjab opting to play with three spinners in the match.
Tewatia showed his talent against a hard hitting batsman like Chris Lynn and Sandeep Sharma’s consistent line and length in the last over helped the team to win. We hope like in 2014, the team reaches the final of IPl,” said Satish Singh, a bank employee who had come to watch the match from Yamunanagar.
While the fans enjoyed the match, the stadium saw long queue before the match. Some of the fans could reach inside the stadium after standing for more than one hour in long queue and the fans expected stadium access to be easier next year. “There should be proper handling of tickets and there should be signage about the different entries to the stadium. Most of the police officials are from outside Mohali and even they do not know the way to different gates in the stadium. We came one hour earlier to be at the stadium at the time of toss but the rush outside meant that we missed seeing the toss,” shared Santosh Kumar, a local resident.