Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) beat Gujarat Lions (GL) by 26 runs in an Indian Premier League game on Sunday. Chasing the total of 188, Gujarat lost Brendon McCullum in the first over and then lost Aaron Finch in the sixth. Suresh Raina (32) and Dinesh Karthik (58) kept the fight going for the home team but the required run rate, which was initially in control, kept on rising. Punjab took wickets in quick succession to put Gujarat on the back foot and edged closer to a win. With this win Punjab climb to the fourth position with six points while Gujarat languish at the bottom of the table with four points.
It largely will be a battle of batting strength, with the formidable GL names like Raina, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith to take one KXIP skipper Glenn Maxwell, in the company of Hashim Amla, coming off a century in the last game, and also the likes of Marcus Stoinis and David Miller.
But the issue for both sides has been their bowling, which shows why GL are just one step off the bottom of the points table and KXIP are also not too well placed.
Of all the bowlers on display, only GL’s Andrew Tye and Basil Thampi have made an impression, but not in the same match. Ravindra Jadeja is not in best form yet, so his potential to take wickets regularly has not been reached yet.
The Sharma’s – Ishant, Mohit and Sandeep – have not really worked for KXIP, nor has Varun Aaron. No wonder Maxwell is left shaking his head when targets close to 200 are hauled in so easily.