x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

IPL: Kings XI Punjab at steady pace still good for Royal Challengers Bangalore

Captain Adam Gilchrist breaks run drought to hand the hosts a first defeat home this season, by seven wickets.

Against Royal Challengers Bangalore today in the Indian Premier League, Adam Gilchrist proved form is temporary but class can be permanent.

The Kings XI Punjab captain led by example with a 54-ball unbeaten knock of 85 runs to put even Chris Gayle in shade as they chased down a target of 175 with seven wickets in hand and 11 balls to spare, marking the loss at home for Bangalore this season.

Often, in a clash of teams at the top and bottom of a league, the leaders worry about the stragglers since a backlash is often around the corner and it could well be their turn.

When Punjab won the toss and stifled the big-hitting Gayle and Virat Kohli to 83 for one with six overs left, everyone was guessing about how bad the wicket was that had kept the in-form duo bottled up.

Cheteshwar Pujara, the only dismissed Bangalore opener at that point, provided some feedback, saying the wicket was indeed on the slower side, but confided that he was sure 170 was possible. The television pundits sniggered, but the two proved many sceptics wrong with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.

In reply, Punjab needed to ensure that they had a faster start to stay in the hunt before going all out. Gilchrist did just that as the former Australia captain, among the oldest players in the IPL, kept the scoreboard ticking.

He found an able ally in Azhar Mahmood, the Pakistani all-rounder, who scored 61 from 41 deliveries. The No 3 batsman had also been the most economical bowler with figures of 2-24.

Mahmood took some pressure off Gilchrist, who did not time the ball well, but grew in confidence before stepping up a gear effortlessly for his first half-century of the season.

Having lost to Kolkata, this loss to Punjab has set back Bangalore further.

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