NEW DELHI: With their chances of making it to the playoffs dashed, Gujarat Lions made the road ahead a tricky one for Kings XI Punjab by defeating them by six wickets. Hashim Amla’s second century of the season went in vain as Gujarat chased down 190 in the final over and pushed KXIP to a point from where they need to win all their remaining matches to stay alive in the Playoff race.
Gujarat Lions were near spotless inside the Powerplay. Pradeep Sangwan provided them an ideal beginning when he had Martin Guptill mistiming a pull straight to the deep square leg fielder in the first over. Basil Thampi and James Faulkner followed well, and the runs dried up. Hashim Amla, joined by Shaun Marsh rotated the strike but some tight fielding from the bowling team meant that KXIP could manage not more than 44 inside the Powerplay, 15 of which came in the sixth over. Amla almost had his innings cut short when Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t latch on to a difficult chance at point. Once the Powerplay finished and the field spread, Amla and Marsh pierced the wide, vacant areas on the field and ran well.
If Amla did most of the scoring inside Powerplay, Marsh took over that role once it concluded, and the two took KXIP to 81/1 in 10 overs to stage a wonderful recovery when things had looked sluggish at a point. Amla went to 50 off 35 balls, and along with Marsh, set the perfect platform for his side with a 125-run partnership. Dhawal Kulkarni, who had bowled excellently, was finally rewarded with the wicket of Marsh, holing out to Aaron Finch at long-on.