A half-century from Hashim Amla [65 off 40 balls] and a disciplined bowling effort saw Kings XI Punjab defeat Gujarat Lions by 26 runs at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Sunday.
After being put into bat by Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina, Kings XI lost the returning Manan Vohra early on as Nathu Singh struck in the first over of his Indian Premier League [IPL] debut.
In Punjab’s previous game against Mumbai Indians, Amla notched up a century and the South Africa batsman was in fine form once again as he set the platform for a big total for his side.
Amla got good support from Shaun Marsh [30 off 24 balls] and Glenn Maxwell [31 off 18 balls], but both Australians failed to convert their starts into big scores.
Although Kings XI were always looking at a good total, they needed a late Axar Patel [34 from 17 balls] flourish to push them up to 188-7 from their 20 overs.
In reply, the Lions lost the wicket of Brendon McCullum in the first over, a big blow considering the former New Zealand captain’s splendid form this season.
Aaron Finch [13 off 12 balls] and Suresh Raina [32 off 24 balls] looked to take the attack to the Punjab bowlers, but the former was dismissed in the final over of the Powerplay.
Raina, though, was still at the crease and he looked to repeat his heroics from Friday when he led his team to a successful run-chase against Kolkata Knight Riders. It wasn’t to be this time around, the left-handed batsman caught superbly by Maxwell at deep mid-wicket in the ninth over which put a big dent in the hopes of the Rajkot-based team.
Dinesh Karthik [58* off 44 balls] tried his best but it wasn’t enough as the hosts succumbed to their fifth loss in seven matches this season.
The Punjab spinners – KC Cariappa and Axar Patel – were very impressive with both picking up two wickets each.
Kings XI Punjab 188/7, 20 overs [Amla 54, Patel 34, Tye 2-35] beat Gujarat Lions 162/7, 20 overs [Karthik 58*, Raina 32, Cariappa 2-24] by 26 runs.
Player of the Match – Hashim Amla