Kings XI Punjab demolished Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 46 of the 2020 IPL, at Sharjah, romping home with 7 balls to spare, for the loss of just 2 wickets. Mohammed Shami (4-0-35-3), Ravi Bishnoi (4-1-20-2), and Chris Jordan (4-0-25-2) first restricted Kolkata to 149/9. Shubman Gill (57 in 45 balls) and Eoin Morgan (40 in 25) added 81 in 47 balls, but barring them, Lockie Ferguson (24* in 13) was the only other Kolkata batsman reached double figures. The Punjab win was set up a 61-ball 100-run stand between Mandeep Singh (66* in 56) and Chris Gayle (51 in 29).
In My11 Circle Cricbuzz Live, Harsha Bhogle celebrated ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle’s return to form: “The biggest king of them all has entered the ground … Chris Gayle talks about himself as the Universe Boss, and you laugh with him, because, you know, it’s fun. Guess what, since Chris Gayle has come back, they’ve won every single game. It doesn’t matter whether he opens, he comes in at 3, and he’s taking on the spinners. He just threw that spinners’ game plan out of the window. It could have been a tricky chase, but he has taken them home … He brings a fear factor to the Punjab side.”
Gayle hit two sixes off Varun Chakravarthy and one more off Sunil Narine. “Against both these guys, Narine and Chakravarthy, he took his time … because he knows that when he needs to press the accelerator, he can,” acknowledged Joy Bhattacharjya.
Bhogle also praised Mandeep, who had stayed back despite his father’s demise a few days ago: “For him to come out and play like that with resolve … This is an innings young Mandeep Singh can be very, very proud of. The whole family can be proud of the young man.”
Thanks to a superior net run rate, Punjab (-0.049) replaced Kolkata (-0.479) at the fourth spot on the points table. The teams have 12 points each, and have to play Chennai and Rajasthan.
Discussing the chances of the two sides, Bhattacharjya said: “They [Punjab] have got the momentum right now … Chennai doesn’t have those really fast bowlers. Similarly, if you look at Rajasthan, they’ll say ‘if we can play out Jofra [Archer], then our boys can really get going’.”
Bhogle agreed: “They are settled. They are in rhythm, people know their roles, people know when they have to bowl. Because they have got Arshdeep [Singh] and Jordan now, what they are managing to do is bowl three overs of Shami quick, straight, fast upfront … Everyone’s now got their roles very clear.”