Kings XI Punjab broke their losing streak on Thursday as they returned to winning way with an eight-wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah. The match went down to the last ball, with Nicholas Pooran hitting a six to seal a thrilling win for KXIP. The result had little effect of the points-table but gave KXIP the confidence they’d fallen short of.
Architects of KXIP’s win were KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle with the bat. Rahul and Agarwal once again provided a strong start to KXIP’s chase putting on 78 runs for the opening wicket with the KXIP skipper scoring yet another half-century. Meanwhile, playing his first match since January, Gayle peeled off a half-century in his first match of the season. Gayle and Rahul took the match into the final over before Pooran finished things off.
After the match, Pooran, speaking to Mayank Agarwal, revealed whom he thinks is the greatest T20 player of all time, giving his KXIP and West Indies teammate Gayle the honour.
“For me, Gayle is the greatest T20 player who has played the game,” he said in a video upload by KXIP. “When Chris is batting, you always have a chance of winning the game. Once he is there, it is a different mood in the camp obviously. He started off slowly, but he had not played cricket for a long time…He has shown once more why he is the greatest T20 batsman. It is wonderful to see him get runs.”
With one needed off the final ball, it was Pooran who hit the winning runs – a six off his first ball. He explained how the entire scenario felt like a deja-vu situation to him as in KXIP’s first match of the season, against Delhi Capitals, they had failed to get over the line.
“The last over started, it was like deja vu. Last three balls, one run. It was like the Delhi game all over again but the difference was that I was in the dugout. A million things were running in my mind. I was not clear, to be honest, what I was gonna do. I never wanted to be in that position. After sitting out for so long, I have to bat the last ball,” Pooran said.