Mohali, May 13: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) made it tougher for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to reach the Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8) playoffs as they outsmarted the visitors by 22 runs in a match that was reduced to 10 overs per side due to rain here today.
Wriddhiman Saha's entertaining knock (31 runs off 12 balls) at the top of the order helped Kings XI post 106/6 against Royal Challengers.
The star studded batting line-up of Royal Challengers failed to deliver in the short chase as they could only reach 84/6 in 10 overs.
Royal Challengers, however, are still very much in contention for a playoff berth, having 13 points from 12 games with two games remaining. Kings XI Punjab, already out of the competition, won only their third game of the season.
RCB were 33/1 by the first 3 overs of the chase with skipper Kohli (19 off 9) falling to Anureet Singh after dispatching the medium pacer for two fours and a straight six over long-on.
Sandeep gets Gayle for 17
Kohli's fall meant another explosive duo was at the crease with no target too much for Gayle and AB de Villiers.
However, the often dreaded partnership did not last long as pacer Sandeep Sharma had Gayle (17 of 14) caught behind off a well-directed short ball, leaving the visitors at 44 for two in 4.4 overs.
More trouble was in store for Royal Challengers when de Villiers (10 off 9) swept straight to the man at short-fine leg, his team still needing 40 off the last 20 balls.
The onus was on Mandeep Singh and Dinesh Karthik to get Royal Challengers over the line but it proved to be too much of a task for them.
Saha powers KXIP to 106/6
Earlier, Wriddhiman Saha's entertaining knock at the top of the order helped KXIP post 106/6. Make-shift opener Saha (31 runs off 12 balls) launched an all-out attack from ball one before quickfire innings from David Miller (14 off 4) and Axar (20 not out off 15) took Kings XI to a competitive total.
The game, supposed to start at 8 pm, began two hours and 45 minutes late with Royal Challengers putting Kings XI in to bat on a green surface.
Saha, replacing Murali Vijay at the top, got the hosts off to a cracking start much to the joy of fans who waited hours for the action to begin.
Saha, opening alongside Manan Vohra, smashed Mitchell Starc for two fours in the opening over of the innings before hammering another left-arm pacer Sreenath Aravind in an over that went for 20 runs. At 34 for no loss, Kings XI were off to a flier in a shortened contest.
The Bengal batsman was caught at mid on by Mandeep off the first ball bowled by medium pacer David Wiese, but his cameo was enough to give Kings XI a much needed impetus early on.
2 wickets for Harshal Patel
However, Harshal Patel (2/12) removed Vohra (11) and Glenn Maxwell (10) in in the fifth over to peg back the home side at 54 for three.
The exhilarating pace of the innings was seen all through out with batsmen getting out regularly after hitting some lusty blows.
Same was the case for David Miller (14), who departed after smacking leggie Yuzvendra Chahal (2/25) for two consecutive sixes down the ground.
The regular loss of wickets in a 10-over innings eventually did not affect the tempo of the innings as Kings XI set up a challenging target.