You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Axar, Sandeep keep Punjab in the race for a spot in the playoffs

Wisden India logo Wisden India 05-05-2017 Nisha Shetty
© Associated Press

Axar Patel's sparkling late cameo of 38 not out off 17 balls swung the pendulum Kings XI Punjab's way at the halfway stage before he returned to torment Royal Challengers Bangalore with ball in hand with 3 for 11 from three overs alongside Man of the Match Sandeep Sharma (3 for 22), to break the back of Virat Kohli’s side and script a 19-run victory on Friday (May 5) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

The result kept Punjab's Indian Premier League 2017 playoff chances alive, and extended Bangalore's horror run, consigning the home side to a fifth loss in their last six games and ninth overall in 12 outings.

Bangalore opted to field and though their bowlers carved through much of Punjab's line-up, Axar's knock, which included three fours and two sixes, lifted the side to 138 for 7 – a total that, while not terribly imposing, could be defended on the slow pitch on offer on the night.

© Provided by Wisden

The chase began with a stutter, Sandeep having Chris Gayle caught at point and bowling Kohli, at No. 3, with an inswinger. Glenn Maxwell persisted with Sandeep and the medium pacer responded, having the other big fish, AB de Villiers, caught behind for 10 to leave Bangalore in familiar trouble at 37 for 3.

Even as Mandeep Singh tried his best to keep the side afloat, it was becoming increasingly clear that he was fighting a lone battle as the runs were only coming from one end. Kedar Jadhav fell to Mohit Sharma while Shane Watson edged Axar behind as Bangalore slipped to 71 for 5 in the 12th over.

Full scorecard: KXIP vs RCB

There wasn't even consolation for Mandeep (46 in 40) on the personal front as he missed out on a half-century when Maxwell brought himself on and uprooted his stumps the very next over. It was a straight delivery, one that could have been negotiated, but Mandeep exposed all three sticks by looking to carve the ball over midwicket. 

From there, a win for Punjab was a mere formality. Pawan Negi (21 in 23) was the only other batsman to reach double-figures for Bangalore as they folded tamely on 119 in 19 overs.

Punjab, who completed a ten-wicket win in their last game chasing 68 against Delhi Daredevils, were brought crashing back to reality earlier in the day when they lost three of their wickets, all overseas batsmen, in the first seven overs with only 39 on the board.

Watch: Axar, Sandeep keep Punjab in the race for a spot in the playoffs

Replay Video

Watch more IPL videos

Hashim Amla feathered an edge to Kedar Jadhav, the wicketkeeper, to give Aniket Choudhary a wicket in the first over, Martin Guptill looked to get on top of S Arvind but holed out to Negi at sweeper cover, and Shaun Marsh (20 in 17) also tried the same in Negi's first over to throw his wicket away.

Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha steadied the innings briefly, but the introduction of Yuzvendra Chahal, Bangalore's best bowler, kept the batsmen on their toes. Chahal should have had Saha for one but for a stumping chance to go begging. However, he did get Vohra, looking to sweep but finding de Villiers at long on, for 25.

Bangalore can count themselves fortunate that their continued sloppiness on the field wasn't punished by Maxwell. He went for the reverse sweep on the fifth ball he had faced, off Negi, but Choudhary, stationed at backward point, was slow to react to a catch that was there for the taking.

Complete coverage: IPL 2017

Jadhav then underlined the part-time part of his role, conceding two byes for eight runs with the Punjab captain on strike, but Chahal reined in any frustration and was rewarded when Maxwell was caught at short third man for six. It was a tough call for the third umpire to decide whether Chahal had overstepped but he ruled in favour of the bowler, and Maxwell could only kick the turf in anger as he made the walk back.

But Saha, joined by Axar, then put on Punjab's best partnership of the night, adding 34 to take the side past 100. Watson removed Saha for a 25-ball 21, but Axar was in a belligerent mood, hitting Chahal for a six and a four to spoil the legspinner's figures (2 for 21) somewhat.

A wicket-maiden in the 19th over was negated by an expensive last over, going for 19, bowled by Watson. Axar faced all seven balls – with one wide – hitting three boundaries, and Kohli could barely conceal a sulk at the boundary rope, sensing the game slipping out of his grasp, yet again.

Love stories of Indian cricketers:

Celebs at Ambani’s bash for Rohit and Harbhajan Love stories of Indian cricketers

More from Wisden India

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon