Kings XI Punjab’s outside chances of making it to the playoffs were dashed when they capitulated to a 9-wicket loss to Rising Pune Supergiant. Batting first, Punjab lasted just a ball under 16 overs and managed to make 73 runs. Pune surpassed that total in 12 overs for the loss of one wicket. It now means that Pune are second on the league table and thus have confirmed a date with Mumbai Indians in the playoffs. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
Kings XI Punjab came into the match against Rising Pune Supergiant on the back of a clash of gargantuan proportions against Mumbai Indians, in terms of runs scored. They did concede nearly as many, but what is to be remembered is that Punjab, batting first, made a target of 231 for Mumbai to chase. That performance came after their win against Kolkata Knight Riders and it looked like Punjab, who had their backs against walls in the league stages, had finally come to their own.
That notion took a hit when opener Martin Guptill was dismissed off the first ball of their match against Rising Pune Supergiant. It may have been just a hiccup, one must have thought. There were plenty of power hitters still left in the Punjab batting line-up, Wriddhiman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, just to name a few. But the players who hit the ball all over the park in Mumbai walked back into the pavilion without taking too much of the sunlight in Pune. Glenn Maxwell was dismissed for a duck while Wriddhiman Saha went for 13. It was him and Axar Patel who dragged Punjab beyond the 50-run mark. Axar Patel’s score of 22 is the highest by a Punjab batsman in the match.
Slowly but surely, Pune took apart the resurgent Punjab batting line-up and the visitors found themselves dismissed for 73 in just under 16 overs. Pune reached the total in 12 overs for the cost of one wicket. It was a match that acted as a virtual knock-out as both teams were within reach of the playoffs.
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