Gujarat Lions (GL) severely dented Kings XI Punjab’s (KXIP) play-offs hopes on Sunday by handing the hosts a six-wicket defeat in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the jam-packed PCA Stadium in Mohali.
Kings XI Punjab’s South Africa star struck his second century in IPL 2017 with 104, but just like his unbeatean 104 against Mumbai Indians, a West Indies batsman stole the show and the game. If it was Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana who stole Amla’s thunder in that Indore game, it was Gujarat Lions opener Dwayne Smith’s 39-ball 74 that rallied the visiting team to victory.
KXIP scored 189 for three in 20 overs and Gujarat Lions, whose playoff hopes had already ended, reached 192 for 4 in 19.4 overs.
It’s not every day that a batsman getting a 60-ball 104 ends up on the losing side. Hashim Amla, not picked by any team in the auctions before being drafted into Kings XI Punjab as a replacement, led the way once again only to be left wondering what more would it take to end on the winning side after such a knock.
A target of 190 on a PCA stadium pitch would have been difficult, yet Gujarat scampered home despite KXIP pacer Sandeep Sharma’s late strikes removing a well-set Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch. They needed 24 runs off the last two overs. But Varun Aaron leaked 16 off the 19th to Dinesh Karthik and Ravindera Jadeja. With just eight to get off the final six balls, Gujarat got them in four.
Dwayne Smith and the Ishan Kishan gave Gujarat Lions a perfect launch pad by getting to 91 within the first 10 overs before Smith got 71, followed by Raina (39).
KXIP are now faced with a daunting task of having to win their final three games and hope for other results to go in their favour.
Earlier, a superb 125-run stand between Amla and Shaun Marsh set the tone before KXIP added 67 off the last 26 balls.
Sandeep in argument
Kings XI Punjab pacer Sandeep Sharma got into a heated argument with the umpire A. Nand Kishore after he called a no-ball for the bowler not informing that he was shifting to around the wicket.
Dwayne Smith was caught unawares at the non-striker end. The 23-year-pacer was joined by captain Glenn Maxwell and teammate Gurkeerat Mann in the argument.
Sandeep and Maxwell were seen having an animated chat with the umpire after he gave a free hit. Ishan could only get a single on the free hit, but Sandeep was disappointed. Maxwell was seen having a long chat with the umpire.
When he completed his over, Sharma snatched his cap from the umpire in anger. This might land him in trouble as match referee Javagal Srinath is likely to take stock of the episode and decide on any action.