IPL

Gayle and Mandeep too much for KKR as Kings XI boost play-off hopes

By Sports Desk October 26, 2020

Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh were the stars of the show as Kings XI Punjab defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets to boost their Indian Premier League play-off hopes. 

In reply to 149-9, Kings XI made a somewhat inauspicious start, but Gayle's entrance provided the required spark and subsequently seemed to inspire Mandeep, who was visibly emotional as he passed 50 just a few days after the death of his father. 

KKR's bowlers failed to match the performance of their counterparts, Kings XI sealing an impressive victory that puts them fourth. 

A dreadful start by Kolkata left them staring at a tricky innings as they found themselves 10-3 having lost Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik in the first two overs. 

Shubman Gill (57) and Eoin Morgan (40) soon steadied the ship with a stand of 81, but the tide turned again as Kings XI's spinners took charge. 

Lockie Ferguson (24 not out) was the only other batsman to reach double figures, Varun Chakaravarthy – the last to fall – summing up their struggles as he hit an attempted reverse sweep into his own stumps. 

Kings XI might have been accused of being a little conservative in their chase given they were at 47-1 at the end of the eighth over, when captain KL Rahul fell, but that was the turning point. 

Gayle entered the crease and quickly turned on the style, his successive sixes soon followed by another as he began to toy with the Knight Riders. 

Mandeep reached his half-century in the 16th over to draw rousing applause from his team-mates and finished unbeaten on 66, helped by eight fours and a pair of sixes. 

Gayle was halted on 51 when caught by Prasidh Krishna, but at that point Kings XI needed just three runs and Nicholas Pooran saw them home.

GAYLE TURNS IT UP A NOTCH

While Mandeep will deservedly get much of the attention for the quality of his performance, even more so given his personal situation, Gayle's entry was undoubtedly a key factor. 

Until then, Kings XI had looked a little lacklustre even if they were performing solidly. The 'Universe Boss' provided the oomph they had been missing.

SPINNERS LEAD THE WAY

The target of 150 always looked an entirely reachable one, and for that, much of the credit must go to the Kings XI spinners. That includes Glen Maxwell, who opened the bowling and claimed 1-21.

Rahul's in-form side have now won five on the spin, quickly moving them up the standings at a crucial time in the season. 

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