IPL

Rahul, Gayle guide Kings XI Punjab to second IPL win

By Sports Desk March 30, 2019

Kings XI Punjab picked up their second win of the 2019 Indian Premier League, with KL Rahul's unbeaten half-century guiding them to an eight-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians.

Having beaten Rajasthan Royals in their first match but then come up short against Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI chased down a target of 177 with eight balls to spare to make it two wins from three.

Mumbai posted 176-7 in their 20 overs, Quinton de Kock (60) making the most significant knock, while Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen and Murugan Ashwin all took two wickets apiece.

In Kings XI's reply, Chris Gayle (40) smashed four sixes and three fours in a brisk opening partnership with Rahul (71 not out), who received good support from Mayank Agarwal (43) and David Miller (15 not out)

After a bright start from Rohit Sharma (32) and De Kock, Kings XI were able to halt Mumbai’s progress by dismissing the Indian opener and Suryakumar Yadav in quick succession.

De Kock eventually brought up his 50, his first of this year’s IPL, with a slog to long on that narrowly evaded Agarwal and bounced once before clearing the rope. Just as it looked as if the South African would kick on, hitting a wonderful six over square leg, he was gone, trapped lbw by Shami.

Yuvraj Singh was the next to fall, picking out Shami at square leg off Ashwin’s bowling, while Agarwal took a wonderful catch on the boundary to dismiss Kieron Pollard before Hardik Pandya helped propel his side to 176-7 with a hard-hitting 31 off 19 balls.

After surviving a pair of early speculative lbw shouts, Gayle fired Kings XI towards their target with a volley of sixes before holing out off Krunal Pandya's bowling.

With Rahul playing a watchful innings at the other end, the onus was on Agarwal to pick up where West Indies veteran Gayle left off and he struck a series of boundaries before being brilliantly caught and bowled by Krunal Pandya.

The 28-year-old’s dismissal roused Rahul, who upped the tempo and soon brought up his 50. With Miller providing support at the other end, the target was ultimately chased down with time and wickets to spare.

SPIN DOES THE TRICK

Just as it looked as though Mumbai could be on for an imposing total, with De Kock well set and Yuvraj finding his range, the two Ashwins, Ravichandran and Murugan, were able to slow up the run rate effectively, with the latter ending with impressive figures of 2-25.

Losing wickets in clusters slowed down the run rate effectively. Mumbai then subsequently failed to threaten when bowling and this ultimately led to their defeat.

KINGS XI VARY THE PACE

Despite his eventual match-winning knock, Rahul struggled to get out of the traps and it seemed as though the run chase was passing him by.

However, he was fortunate to have batting partners who were willing to take the pressure off him, with Gayle and Agarwal happy to take on the role of the aggressor.

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