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Apart from the early loss of Shaun Marsh,Kings XI Punjab were in complete control of the stiff run-chase,and registered a thumping seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore today.
Mahmood fell after getting his side very close to the target,but set up the chase beautifully. Both Mahmood and Adam Gilchrist were all at ease in the middle,and were picking the odd boundary in every over. They targeted Muttiah Muralitharan,and scored a lot of runs off his bowling.
Mahmood couldn’t stay there till the end,and made the long walk back after a brilliant 41-ball 61. Next man in,David Miller,too,departed early as the skipper delivered the final blow.
Gilchrist,for the first time in the tournament,dictated terms in the middle,and scored his first fifty of the sixth edition. He was not afraid to leave the crease,got the big shots in,and found the gaps with utmost ease.
It was indeed the Gilchrist of the old. Runs were flowing off his willow,and the bowlers had no answer during his stint in the middle. The Aussie stayed there till the end,and finished the job for his side with 11 balls to spare.
Bangalore,on the other hand,just couldn’t get wickets,and found life difficult with the ball. Their shuffled side couldn’t deliver on the occasion,and added flavour to the already exciting race to the play-offs.
With this defeat,they continue to occupy the fourth position in the points table,and make their fixture against Chennai Super Kings a must-win affair.
Put into bat,Bangalore commenced proceedings cautiously. Both openers — Chris Gayle and Cheteshwar Pujara — were in no hurry,and didn’t do anything silly in the middle. Boundaries were difficult to come by,but the duo was happy to rotate the strike.
It looked like a well chalked out plan to see off the new ball,and accelerate later but Pujara’s early departure forced the home side to rework their strategy.
Skipper Virat Kohli and Gayle paid a lot of respect to some fine display of bowling by Kings XI Punjab,who contained the flow of runs. Azhar Mahmood and Piyush Chawla bowled well to not allow the belligerent duo accelerate,at least till the ninth over.
After managing a paltry 49/1 in the first nine,the duo took off,and there was no looking back since then. Runs started to flow,and Gayle found his middle at the right time for the hosts.
The aggressive southpaw got the big shots in,and cleared the ropes with utmost ease and authority. Manpreet Gony was on the receiving end of most of the damage as the seamer went for plenty in his four overs today. He kept pitching in Gayle’s zone,who kept dispatching it into the stands.
Seeing Gayle accelerate from the other end,Kohli joined the act,and matched the West Indian shot by shot. The Delhi dasher didn’t hit many sixes,but his 43-ball 57 was laced by six delightful boundaries.
It was not a typical Bangalore start,but definitely a Bangalore-like end. Seamer Parvinder Awana did prevent some runs towards the end as he removed Gayle and AB de Villiers,who hit a six on his first ball,with a couple of brilliant yorkers.
Departure of Gayle and AB in quick succession denied the spectators of some expected fireworks. Even Kohli,in an attempt to further up the ante,was trapped in front by Mahmood.
Courtesy a couple of boundaries from KL Rahul,Bangalore ended with 174/5. Punjab did all the hard work during the first ten overs,but had no answers to Gayle-Kohli assault,and leaked too many runs in the process.
In: Muttiah Muralitharan,Zaheer Khan,KL Rahul and Arun Karthik
Out: Murali Karthik,Saurabh Tiwary,Ravi Rampaul and Abhimanyu Mithun
Royal Challengers Bangalore: CA Pujara,CH Gayle,V Kohli(c),AB de Villiers,MC Henriques,KL Rahul,KB Arun Karthik(wk),R Vinay Kumar,Z Khan,M Muralitharan,JD Unadkat
Kings XI Punjab
AC Gilchrist(c & wk),Mandeep Singh,SE Marsh,M Vohra,DA Miller,R Sathish,Azhar Mahmood,PP Chawla,MS Gony,P Awana,Sandeep Sharma