Mohali, Apr 8 : An authentic 114-run third wicket partnership between opener K L Rahul (71 not out, 53b, 7x4s, 1x6) and Mayank Agarwal (55, 43 b, 3x4s, 3x6s) engineered a well deserved six-wicket victory for Kings XI Punjab against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the night match of Indian Premier League, here at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Monday.
With one ball to spare, Kings XI Punjab's good performance with bat and ball saw them set a record of seventh consecutive home win. With this victory, Kings XI Punjab moved to third position from fifth with eight points. Their net run rate is -0.061. KKR, CSK and KXIP have identical eight points each. Kolkata Knight Riders (5-4-1, 8 pts) and Chennai Super Kings (5-4-1, 8 pts) are leading the points table. KKR are on top with better net run rate (1.058) and CSK are at the second spot with net run rate of 0.159.
An all-round clinical performance from the Kings was shaken up after a flurry of quick wickets, however their batsmen helped them get over the line with Rahul leading the charge with an unbeaten 71. Chasing a victory target of 151 for their fourth win from six matches, Kings XI lost an early wicket of opener Chris Gayle, who did not made into playing XI against Delhi Capitals here on April 4 night match.
With scoreboard at 18 runs in 3.1 overs, Gayle (16 of 14 balls) was caught by Deepak Hooda of the bowling of Rashid Khan.Rahul and Agarwal defied the SRH bowlers and contributed a match-winning partnership of 114 runs for the second wicket. The partnership virtually turned the table in the match. Mayank Agarwal did enjoy a life when he was dropped by Yusuf Pathan at long on.
Fast bowler Sandeep Sharma broke this partnership when he had Agarwal caught by Vijay Shankar. Sandeep Sharma was the most economical and successful bowler for Sunrisers Hyderbad as he got two wickets for 21 runs in the four-over spell. Rashid Khan (1 for 20) was the most economical bowler for SRH.
Man of the Match KL Rahul hit the winning stroke by getting two runs from the fifth delivery of Mohammad Nabi in the 20th over and went on to remain not out on 71 runs. Rahul remained at the wicket for 104 minutes and executed seven boundaries and one six. His striking rate was 133.96. This pair carried the total to 132 for 2 in 17.1 overs from 18 for 1 in 3.1 overs.
Kings XI Punjab had also lost the wickets of David Miller (1) and Mandeep Singh (2) but there was no cause for worry for the home team. The hero of Kings XI Punjab's win against Delhi Capitals in the last match played in Mohali, Sam Curran and K L Rahul guided their team to their fourth win in this edition of IPL.
Earlier, Kings got off to a brilliant start against Sunrisers with captain Ravichandran Ashwin taking a splendid low catch to dismiss Englishman Jonny Bairstow in just the second over of the match. Building on that early momentum, the KXIP bowlers did well to restrict the visitors to just 27 runs at the end of the powerplay as they ran the visitors dry.
Despite their sluggish start, the Sunrisers batsmen continued their conservative approach, treading the ball into the gaps for singles and doubles even and finally setting a target of 151 for the hosts.UNI