A spectacular show from returning Chris Gayle followed by some nerves of steel on display by Gayle’s West Indian teammate Nicholas Pooran enabled Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by eight wickets on Thursday in Match No. 31 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. Chasing a sub-par RCB total of 171/6, KXIP rode their in-form openers as skipper KL Rahul (61 out of 49 balls) and Mayank Agarwal (45 of 25) added 78 for the first wicket in just eight overs. Gayle then arrived to play his first game of professional cricket since January 2020, hitting a 45-ball 53 for five sixes along the way and sharing a 93-run tie with Rahul to set Kings XI on the verge of victory.
It took seven runs from the last two overs with Gayle and Rahul at the crease when Isuru Udana gave up only five to make it over two from the last.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who until then had only been used two overs by captain Virat Kohli, was used for the final over and threw two points forward to tighten things up.
Gayle singled on the next, meaning it took one run out of three with Rahul facing the leg spinner.
A third point ball from the over, when Rahul hit the fourth ball to Washington Sundar on a short cover point, brought the equation back to 1 of 2 balls.
It was still manageable by T20 standards, but Rahul tried a quick single on the next even with most of the fielders in the ring and Gayle was found far behind when AB de Villiers turned off bail at the end of the striker .
That dismissal put Pooran in the fold with 1 of 1. KXIP has previously played a Super Over in the tournament – their first-ever IPL 2020 match in which Delhi Capitals outwitted them.
But Pooran, unobstructed by the opportunity, attacked the last ball and knocked it over the bowler’s head for six hours to end the thriller.
This is KXIP’s second win of the tournament in eight games. Incidentally, their last victory had also come against RCB, when Rahul hit an unbeaten 132 in Dubai.
Previously, Kohli won the toss and chose to hit. Openers Devdutt Padikkal (18) and Aaron Finch (20) added 38 for the first wicket in four overs.
Kohli (48) was unable to make it through the innings, even as RCB resorted to strange tactics by promoting Washington Sundar (13 out of 14) and Shivam Dube (23 out of 19) to de Villiers in number 4 and 5.
While Sundar couldn’t get the big hits going, Dube hit two sixes. De Villiers, who hit number 6, came to bat in the 17th over and was fired for two runs while attempting to attack the bowlers to death.
Chris Morris ’25 with just 8 balls, including two sixes and a four from Mohammed Shami in the 20th over, and Udana’s 10 out of five balls helped RCB 170 cross.
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