After being taken to the cleaners in the PowerPlay, Kings XI Punjab bowlers, led by spinners Rahul Tewatia and Axar Patel, produced a brilliant effort in the middle overs to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 14 runs.
The win has kept Kings XI’s hopes alive in the tournament and KKR will now have to win its final game against Mumbai at home to be sure of a berth in the final four.
Chasing 168, Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn provided some fireworks as KKR made 61 for the loss of one wicket in the first six overs. The Aussie raced to 41 off just 19 balls in the first six overs with seven fours and a six.
But Kings XI fought its way back into the game when Tewatia scalped Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa in the tenth over and checked the flow of runs.
In the seven overs after the PowerPlay, Knight Riders managed only 36 runs. Axar too did his bit, chipping in with quiet overs as the visitors failed to find a boundary for more than six overs.
Pacers Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma and Matt Henry then came back strongly in the last six overs with some tight bowling to keep the battle for the playoffs alive with Lynn waging a lone battle.
Earlier, put in to bat, Kings were meandering in the first half until skipper Glenn Maxwell’s power-hitting and a few boundaries from Tewatia in the death overs, helped the team post a decent score of 167.
Opener Manan Vohra gave the innings the initial momentum, hitting two boundaries each off Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav before getting caught behind to a poor delivery. Guptill and Shaun Marsh, too, followed soon after as Narine and Chris Woakes checked the run-flow. Maxwell, who walked in at 56 for three, wasted no time in getting a move on as he slammed four sixes in his 25-ball 44.
The Australian then launched into Kuldeep Yadav, hoisting two sixes over the mid-wicket fence.