IPL 10: Kolkata aiming at top-two finish playing Punjab

Posted May 08, 2017

South African Hashim Amla has been their highest run-scorer with 316 runs, which included a century against Mumbai Indians while Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha all have chipped in from time to time but they need to be more consistent to lend depth to KXIP batting. Amla went to 50 off 35 balls, and along with Marsh, set the ideal platform for his side with a 125-run partnership.

Dwayne Smith turned out to be the architect of the victory for Gujarat with a whirlwind 74 off just 39 deliveries to get Gujarat off to a flier while chasing a challenging 190 for win.

Shaun Marsh is five runs short of becoming the first player to score 1000 IPL runs in Mohali.

Glenn Maxwell-led KXIP, on the other hand, have a slender chance to make it to the play-offs as they have only five wins from 11 matches and are placed at the fifth spot with 10 points.

With Gujarat's overseas supplies down to bare rations due to a series of unfortunate injuries, Smith earned automatic selection and didn't disappoint, muscling eight boundaries and four sixes to wrestle the momentum back to the visitors. Dwayne Smith and Dinesh Karthik's valiant efforts eclipsed Amla's heroics to seal the deal, in Mohali on Sunday.

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With the equation down to 24 off the last two overs, Karthik used his experience to great effect to guide Gujarat home, reaching 192 for four in 19.4 overs. Smith was handed another lifeline in the eighth over when a diving Gurkeerat Singh spilled a chance off the bowling off skipper Glenn Maxwell. Seamers Varun Aaron and Mohit Sharma have the ability to do a good job, while spinner Axar Patel has proved himself with 13 wickets so far in the season.

Then in the 18th over Sandeep Sharma removed both Raina and Aaron Finch and conceded just four runs leaving the Lions chasing two a ball.

A few days back, Kings XI Punjab's fielding coach R Sridhar had said that he was proud that his team has dropped the least number of catches in this IPL season.

Amla was also involved two crucial partnerships with Marsh and Maxwell. Soon after reaching his half-century, Amla signaled intent, hitting the leg-spinner Ankit Soni for a six over long-off.

Gujarat pacers Thampi, Pradeep Sangwan and Dhawal Kulkarni picked up a wicket each. Amla stated that with so much T20 cricket being played, batsmen - traditional or modern-day - have found a way to score runs at a brisk rate. The likes of Shardul Thakur, James Faulkner, Basil Thampi and Ravindra Jadeja have failed to live upto the expectations of the side.