IPL 2016: Kings XI Punjab beat Gujarat Lions by 23 runs at Rajkot, Stars and Flops

Murali Vijay has been appointed as the new captain of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) side and seems like that has brought some fortune back in the camp. They started their season with a loss against the same Suresh Raina-led Gujarat Lions (GL) side and probably they are reviving their fortune by beating the same team in this tournament.

Once again, a team chose to bowl first after winning the toss as Raina invited KXIP to bat but things did not go his way. In fact, the last two matches of this edition of Indian Premier League have been won by the team who batted first. KXIP made a big change in their side as Marcus Stoinis was asked to open the batting with skipper Vijay and they did the task very well by adding up 65 runs together for the first wicket. But after Stoinis was sent back to the pavilion by Ravindra Jadeja, wickets started falling like the pack of cards and it wasn’t the first time. Vijay completed his half-century and got out. Thanks to their ex-captain David Miller and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who scored 31 and 33 respectively, a total of 154 was possible. Chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik  and Praveen Kumar were the pick of the bowler as Kaushik grabbed three crucial wickets and the other men got two and were economical too.

Coming to the chase, GL’s lethal opening pair of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith failed, skipper Raina and other batsmen too failed to make it count. And it’s all because of Axar Patel‘s excellent bowling, who took four wickets and all were of recognised batsmen. His four wickets included a hat-trick as well and he became the second player from KXIP to do this after Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj, in fact has done it twice. After being six down for 57 runs, Ishan Kishan and James Faulkner came together and tried to revive the innings, but it was too little and too late by then. In the end, the struggling GL could only score 131 with the loss of nine wickets and lost a match after three back-to-back victories.

Turning Point: Even after the departure of GL opener Brendon McCullum and skipper Suresh Raina, there was still a little hope to win the match for them but Axar Patel’s second over turned the whole game and there was no looking back for them as he took three crucial wickets in that over, which included Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Bravo.

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Brief Scores: 

Kings XI Punjab 154 in 20 overs [Murali Vijay 55 (41), Wriddhiman Saha 33 (19), David Miller 31 (27); Shivil Kaushik 4-0-20-3, Praveen Kumar 2.5-0-25-2, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-33-2] beat Gujarat Lions 131 for 9 in 20 overs [James Faulkner 32 (27), Ishan Kishan 27 (24); Axar Patel 4-0-21-4, Mohit Sharma 4-0-32-3, Sandeep Sharma 4-0-31-1] by 23 runs.