Sharjah [UAE], October 16 (ANI): After a close eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday, Kings XI Punjab spinner Murugan Ashwin said that the addition of swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle into the side gives a lot of energy to the team.
Chasing 172, Rahul scored 61 runs off 49 balls while Gayle smashed a well-made 53 to hand KXIP their second win in the showpiece event. This was Gayle's first game of the season.
In the end, KXIP needed two from the last over but Yuzvendra Chahal made an uphill task for the KXIP batsmen as the match came down to 1 run from one ball. Nicholas Pooran whacked a six on the last ball as KXIP took a sigh of relief.
KXIP both wins have come against RCB in the 13th edition of IPL.
"It is good to get a win. Chris coming back to the side gives a lot of energy to the team. The mood in the camp was always high even we were losing. We did not lose our spirit, we know that we are playing good cricket and it is just getting over the line. Really happy that we won a game and it is about repeating it game after game," Ashwin said at the post-match press conference.
Ashwin, returned with the figures of 2-23 in his four overs, said that the wicket was helping the spinners as it was holding the ball but the bowler has to choose the line and length correctly.
"Definitely, the wicket was holding a bit but having said that it is all about executing the length as well. If you miss your length you might get hit for a six considering how small the ground is. You can bowl five good balls and one ball can get to a six and it can just mess up the over. It did have something for the spinners in it," the spinner said.
"The bowl was coming out well, I was watching the previous games which were played on this wicket, even, watched the last game which RCB played and how their spinners bowled. I took a que out of their bowling spell and just wanted to hit the right lengths and hit the ball into the wickets," he added.
Talking the team's performance in the tournament, Ashwin said that the side will look forward to replicate this win in the coming games.
"This is a game of T20 and all the games are really close. It is bat vs ball and it is about who gets the better of the other ultimately. Happy that we crossed the line this time it is about replicating these moments and making sure that these close finishes come towards us so that points table looks different. Take each game at a time and play the best you can on the field," he said.
KXIP got off to a flyer with the opening batsmen Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul bludgeoning the RCB bowling attack. After witnessing a sluggish start, Mayank and Rahul whacked the ball all around the park. The duo smashed 56 runs in the powerplay. Mayank didn't allow any bowler to settle and smashed back-to-back boundaries in Yuzvendra Chahal's first over.
However, Chahal made a comeback in the eight over and cleaned bowled Mayank to hand RCB their first breakthrough. Chris Gayle, who is playing his first match of the ongoing IPL, then joined skipper Rahul in the middle.
Gayle struggled at the start of his knock but soon made up for the dot ball after smashing sixes and fours. Meanwhile, Rahul smashed his 20th IPL half-century as KXIP looked comfortable in the chase.
With the duo scoring 20 runs in the 16th over, RCB lost all hopes of winning the game. However, in the end, RCB made an uncanny comeback but failed to get over the line.
Earlier after opting to bat first, RCB set a competitive target of 172 runs on the back of Chris Morris' impressive performance with the bat. Morris smashed an unbeaten 25 runs from just eight deliveries.
KXIP will now take on Mumbai Indians at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, October 18. (ANI)