By BV Swagath
Veterans Adam Gilchrist and Azhar Mahmood came good finally as Kings XI Punjab pulled off an upset over hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore who are now in the danger of getting eliminated from the play offs. With this RCB defeat, the Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians have qualified for the play offs. The fourth spot is still open for the RCB, Sunrisers and the Kings XI Punjab.
Kings XI chased down a huge target of 175 with 7 wickets in hand and with 11 balls to spare. Adam Gilchrist got his first fifty of the tournament and stayed unbeaten on 85 from 54 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes. Azhar Mahmood too got his first fifty of this season to score a crucial 61 from 41 balls with 8 fours and a six. With Gilchrist, Azhar put on a match-winning stand of 118 in just under 13 overs for the 2nd wicket. Things would have been perhaps different had Gilchrist been adjudged lbw when he missed a flick to a doosra from Murali. The veteran off spinner had insult to injury as he finished with figures of 4-0-44-1.
Earlier in the afternoon, RCB batted rather too slowly at the start but picked up momentum once Chris Gayle got his eye in. Along with Kohli, Gayle turned things around with a huge stand of 136 for the 2nd wicket in 14.2 overs. Gayle scored 77 from 53 balls with 4 fours and half a dozen sixes. Skipper Virat Kohli scored 57 from 43 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes. RCB were stifled by Azhar Mahmood who took 2 for 24 and Parvinder Awana who claimed 3 for 39. Leggie Piyush Chawla bowled well for his 0 for 27 in 4 overs. As expected, Gilchrist got the Man of the Match for his Captain’s knock.
Toss and Teams: Kings XI Punjab have won the toss and asked hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore to bat first at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. RCB have made plenty of changes – one of them being Zaheer Khan getting into the team to play his first game of this season’s IPL. Muralitharan comes back into the playing XI for the RCB while Praveen Kumar misses out for the Kings XI with an injury.
Kings XI Punjab: Mandeep Singh, Adam Gilchrist (C&WK), Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Azhar Mahmood, Rajagopal Sathish, Piyush Chawla, Manpreet Gony, Parvinder Awana, Sandeep Sharma
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Moises Henriques, Arun Karthik (WK), Lokesh Rahul, Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Jaidev Unadkat