Already out of the reckoning, Gujarat Lions severely dented Kings XI Punjab's play-off chances with a comfortable six wicket win in an Indian Premier League match, here today.
KKR made an emphatic come back on Saturday by pounding RCB by 6-wickets after back-to-back defeats.
In the last over, KKR needed 20 runs to take the game but they could only score 5 runs and lost the game by 14 runs.
Robin Uthappa, out with a hamstring injury, is expected to return, as Piyush Chawla indicated on Sunday after the match.
KKR got off to an explosive start, as has been the trend this season, with Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn putting on 39 in 22 balls and 61/1 in the Powerplay. Lynn was run out for a 52-ball knock of 84 with three sixes and eight boundaries.
KKR will, however, need to watch out in so far as they have been cashing in on the hit-and-miss experiment of using Narine at the top.
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That doesn't mean the pitcher won't throw a pitch that doesn't fit the pattern, but it's likely those pitches won't be strikes. Check the hitter's hands: if he's still down on the knob of the bat, don't be surprised to see off-speed chase pitches.
Gautam Gambhir (8), Robin Uthappa (0) and Manish Pandey (18) all came and went before Lynn was eventually run out two balls into the 18th over. "Kuldeep also comes in for Piyush", said Gambhir after the toss. Medium-pacer Mohit Sharma also took two wickets for 24. This is the most important match for KXIP as losing this match will kick-out their Playoff chance.
Punjab still need to win their remaining two matches and hope Sunrisers Hyderabad lose their final game for them to overtake the latter as the fourth team in the play-offs. Talking about KXIP's match against Gujarat Lions, he said setting a target of 190 for the visiting side was a pretty decent one, but gave full credit to the opponents for chasing down the total.
Inconsistency has been KXIP's ban in the IPL and they again failed to rise to the occasion against Gujarat Lions in a match which they should have won.
Due to the fact that the third and fourth-placed teams are in a do-or-die situation from match one, it becomes really important to finish in the top two, because those two teams get is one more opportunity at making the final, and that is something that can not be taken lightly. Worse, they were thrashed by eight wickets in their away game at the Eden Gardens last month. After KKR, they face formidable Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant, which will make it an uphill task for them.
Smith, Amla's counterpart, had not scored a fifty in 10 IPL innings and, before this game, had managed only 103 runs in nine innings this season, with single-digit scores in his last six innings.