Hyderabad: Kings XI Punjab finally got a victory, second in the tournament, in three weeks when they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets on the last ball of the match on Thursday. Incidentally, their first win too was against the Virat Kohli-led side from Bengaluru. In a must-win match after suffering six losses in seven matches, the KL Rahul-led side finally crossed the line to stay in contention.
A fit-again Universe Boss Chris Gayle played his first match of the tournament and he made an impact immediately, scoring 53 along with Rahul (61 not out) to chase down 172-run target. Speaking after the victory, leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin, who picked up two wickets for 23 runs in his four overs, said they were delighted to win a game finally. He also said that inclusion of Gayle did help them. “It is good to get a win. Chris coming back into the side gives a lot of energy. The spirit in the team was always high. Even when we were losing, we never lost spirit. We knew we were playing good cricket game and it was matter of crossing the line,” added the tweaker.
With small boundaries in Sharjah, he said he was delighted with the spell. “The wicket was holding up a bit. But it is all about executing the length. With small boundaries, the margin of error is less. But the pitch has something for spinners. I watched previous games on this ground and also watched how RCB bowled here. Their spinners did well here and I took a cue out of it and tried to hit the right length and turn the ball as much as possible with both my leggies and googlies to trouble batsman,” he added.
With every game crucial for them to stay in contention, the only way forward was to win the matches. “We want to take each game at a time and play out best cricket and make sure that we cross the line,” he added.
Meanwhile, RCB all-rounder Chris Morris said they have a lot of positives to take despite the loss. Speaking on promoting Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar ahead of AB de Villiers, he said, “It was probably to do with spinners bowling in the middle and the left-right combination is always difficult for bowlers. We saw that when Gayle and KL were batting as well. Sometimes it (the decision) pays off and sometimes it does not.”
Speaking about their total on the board, he said, “We did feel we had enough on the board. The wicket slowed down a bit. Maybe we leaked too many boundaries and got our game plan wrong. But we took the game till the last ball. It was a good achievement and we take a lot of positives from the match.”
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