Requiring 17 runs to win off the final over in their chase of Kings XI’s 197-7, Dhoni’s team fell just short of the finish line as the hosts won their second home match in a row.
Here, we look at the key talking points from the IPL clash.
GAYLESTORM ARRIVES IN THE IPL
It was going to be impossible to keep Chris Gayle out of the IPL limelight for long. The Jamaican was not picked for Kings XI Punjab’s opening two matches but by the time he was dismissed on his debut for the franchise, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin must have been wondering if he had missed a trick by holding him back.
Gayle struck four sixes and seven boundaries as the Kings XI fans found their voice at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. The 38-year-old brought up a stylish fifty in just 22 balls as Kings XI raced away to 92-0 after seven overs. Gayle formed a 96-run opening stand with KL Rahul as the duo’s blazing start set up Kings XI for a massive total.
He’s back in the action and how!
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 15, 2018
FINCH’S SECOND STRAIGHT GOLDEN DUCK
Aaron Finch was dismissed for a golden duck in the defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore after being struck on the pads by Umesh Yadav. The India pacer had later revealed that the team had analysed Finch and found him to be vulnerable in the first delivery of his innings. The ploy had been to attack his stumps the very first ball.
That ploy was taken to heart by Imran Tahir who does not need an excuse to attack the stumps anyway. Finch paid the price for playing against the turn as he was given out lbw. Once again, the batsman whose name is being touted as a potential Australia skipper chose to take a review in desperation rather than belief.
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) April 15, 2018
ASHWIN TORMENTS HIS OLD SIDE
Kings XI skipper Ravichandran Ashwin had a point to prove of his own against his former employers who chose not to retain him ahead of the 2018 season. The former Chennai Super Kings stalwart proved to be a thorn in the flesh for MS Dhoni’s men on Sunday.
He bowled an economical four overs, giving away just 32 runs while picking up the wicket of the dangerous Sam Billings with his leg-spin. That wasn’t all as the India off-spinner executed a brilliant direct hit to send back the well set Ambati Rayadu (49). These contributions proved to be vital as Punjab won their second home game in a row.
— Hariharan Durairaj (@hari_durairaj) April 15, 2018
Both franchises have suffered two defeats each in three matches so far and will be desperate for the points on Monday.
The match marks the return of Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir to his former stomping ground where he led the Kolkata franchise to two IPL titles.
PRESSURE GROWING ON DINESH KARTHIK
Filling in Gambhir’s boots at the Eden Gardens was never going to be an easy feat. That has been the case so far for Dinesh Karthik whose captaincy tenure started off in perfect fashion with a win against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Since then, it has all gone downhill for Karthik and his men with losses against Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Apart from the results, it is his own failures with the bat after getting good starts that will rankle the India man. The passionate Eden Gardens faithful will demand the highest of standards from their skipper and Karthik will need to stand up and be counted soon.
DAREDEVILS FINDING THEIR FEET
It seemed all too familiar for Delhi Daredevils as they fell to defeats in their opening two matches in the 2018 edition. Having opted to go in with a highly revamped squad this season, the fortunes of the Daredevils appeared to be flailing until a last-ball victory against the defending champions Mumbai Indians.
It took a really special innings of 91 (53) from England opener Jason Roy to get Delhi over the line in that clash and his arrival has given the outfit a much more complete look. Gambhir’s men will be desperate to take the momentum from that win into Monday at the Eden Gardens where a defeat for either side could prove to be damaging.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
In Glenn Maxwell and Trent Boult, the Daredevils have two proven match-winners. Unfortunately for them, the Australian batsman and the Kiwi pacer have both failed to deliver in the three matches so far.
The visitors will need these two to get firing quickly if they want to have a better IPL than last time.
For the home side, India U19 Pacer Kamlesh Nagarkoti has been ruled out for the season without bowling a ball.
Their two other U19 World Cup winning stars in Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi were given their IPL debuts in the defeat to Hyderabad. Both of them failed to create any impact and it will be interesting to note if Karthik continues to persist with them in a crucial fixture or decides to go with more experienced heads.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (wk & C), Andre Russell, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla
Delhi Daredevils: Gautam Gambhir (C), Jason Roy, Rishab Pant (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer, Vijay Shankar, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Shami, Trent Boult
Chris Gayle had a point to prove as took guard against Chennai Super Kings at Mohali on Sunday.
Now a part of Kings XI Pujab, Gayle had suffered the ignominy of going unsold initially in the IPL auction after not being retained by the Royal Challengers Bangalore where he had been a fan favourite for several years.
After missing out on the playing XI in the opening two matches, the Jamaican was unleashed against the MS Dhoni led Super Kings as he made his debut for the Mohali-based franchise.
Starting cautiously but in control, Gayle took his time to get going. It was in the fourth over of Punjab’s innings that the left-hander burst into life as he tore into Harbhajan Singh’s off-spin.
Smashing a six and a boundary off Harbhajan’s first two deliveries, the West Indies man found his rhythm as the warning bells began ringing for the visitors.
Chris Gayle – 50 in 22 balls today – his second fastest in IPL.
His only faster 50 was off 17 balls v PWI when he scored 175. #KXIPvCSK
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) April 15, 2018
From that point on, there was no looking back as Gayle made full use of his brute force and impeccable timing to cash in on the power-play overs.
The 38-year-old brought up his fifty in just 22 balls in the seventh over of the innings. By the time he hoisted South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir for a massive six in the final delivery of the seventh over, Kings XI Punjab had scored 92 runs.
In the end, Gayle fell for 63 (33) after miscuing a pull off Shane Watson but his 96-run opening stand with KL Rahul had done enough damage to Chennai.
It was a fitting franchise debut for Gayle and it will have a few Royal Challengers Bangalore fans scratching their heads wondering why the ‘entertainer’ wasn’t retained. For now, Bengaluru’s loss is Mohali’s gain.