Kings XI Punjab nicked its first match batting in the first inning this IPL season. The inning had the knock from Hasim Amla, who scored 65 off 40 balls as the foundation of a healthy score, for which he was awarded Player of the Match. Batting for 13.6 overs, Amla hauled the score to 128 leaving six overs to next seven batsmen down the line. Prior to his wicket, Shaun Marsh was toppled in the tenth over as the second wicket to fall. The batsman added 30 off 24 balls. Manan Vohra, was the early slog, whose wicket, whatsoever, did not have any impact on the score. The inning steered throughout the pre-ultimate over with Axar Patel’s knock of 17 ball 34. It ended with the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha on the last ball. Kings XI challenged Gujarat with the target of 189.
In the chase, Punjab bowlers gained the upper hand by planning well, customizing their attacks per batsmen. Although they could not contain Dinesh Karthik, who remained unbeaten throughout the chase, the bowlers put a cap on the flow of runs. KC Cariappa and Mohit Sharma were crucial to slow down the chase. The players nicked three crucial wickets on the middle order slogging the chase after the 10th over. Gujarat Lions played until the final over with the last players still to bat.
However, a slow run rate slogged the chase handing them a defeat by 26 runs. Raina’s strike of 32 runs was substantial in pulling up the score to 162. The odds of Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch were the prime digs. With Finch scratching out 13 runs, the other two batsmen had only single digit scores.
The Rajkot pitch, supposedly, offered an upper hand to batsmen and Punjab proved it. Amla’s strike rate was more than 150, along with others who scored at the rate close to 200. Saha, who was run out on the last ball scored 10 off 5 balls. Gujarat batsmen fell to ingenious catches and lbw traps from Punjab players, while they kept on playing mistimed shots.
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