Axar Patel picked up the first hattrick of the IPL season including four wickets in five balls over two overs as bottom place Kings XI Punjab upset top of the table Gujarat Lions by 23 runs on Sunday.
Chasing Punjab’s total of 154, Gujarat were pegged back by regular wickets to be restricted to 131/9 in their 20 overs at Rajkot’s Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium.
Gujarat were off to a poor start, losing the dangerous Brendon McCullum (1) with just 13 runs on the board in the second over. He was followed by captain Suresh Raina who made 18 off 15 balls before being dismissed in similar fashion — missing straight balls from Mohit Sharma.
Patel, who was introduced in the seventh over, then took centrestage by grabbing the wicket of opener Dwayne Smith (15) with his third delivery. He then snared Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Bravo off successive balls — the fifth and sixth of the over. Patel returned to pick the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja with the first delivery of the 11th over to complete the split hat-trick. He would eventually finish with figures of 4/21.
The chase was as good as over but Ishan Kishan (27), James Faulkner (32) and Praveen Kumar (15) delayed the inevitable by playing out Gujarat’s full quota of overs.
At the halfway stage however, it seemed that the Punjab had once again given away the initiative to the league toppers. They had got off to a great start making 59 for no loss in the powerplay before their innings steadily ran out of steam.
The visiting team’s batting effort was largely built around Murali Vijay who struck six boundaries in his 55 off 41 balls. He shared 65 runs for the opening wicket with Marcus Stoinis (27).
Following the opening stand Punjab found it difficult to get past tight bowling by Shivil Kaushik (3/20).Ravindra Jadeja (1/28), too managed to recover well after conceding 17 runs in his first over. At one stage Punjab looked like they would finish for a less than par total but David Miller (31) and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Shah (33 not out off 19 balls) shared 39 runs for the sixth wicket to take the visitors past 150.
With this win, Punjab would hope they have managed to turn around what has been a nightmarish season so far.
They now have four points with two wins and five defeats from seven matches, while the Lions, despite the reverse, stayed at the top with six victories and two losses from eight appearances.