Glenn Maxwell’s Kings XI Punjab side have kept their hopes of reaching the finals of the Indian Premier League alive with a 14-run win over the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Maxwell’s was explosive late in the innings and made 44 runs off 25 balls in an innings that included four sixes and was crucial for his side as they racked up a total of 6-167 off their 20 overs.
Maxwell was aided by Wriddhiman Saha, who chipped in with 38 of his own as the duo added 71 runs for the fourth wicket.
From there the stage was set for Kolkata’s big-hitting openers Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn to ignite their run chase, and ignite it they did.
Narine smashed four boundaries in a quick 18 before he was bowled by Mohit Sharma.
Then it was over to Lynn and the 27-year-old Queenslander obliged with a sterling innings of 84 off 52 deliveries, which included three sixes and eight boundaries.
Just as it seemed Lynn might carry his bat through the innings, to a century and a Kolkata victory he was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding from Axar Patel.
The allrounder threw to the keepers’ end with accuracy and speed from deep mid-wicket as Lynn fell short of making his ground in an attempt to make two runs.
His wicket started a Kolkata slide as Kings XI tightened the screws and Kolkata only scored another 21 runs to fall 14 short in their chase.
Maxwell wasn’t exactly confident his side would make the finals but he had plenty of praise for what his team did in the field to slow down the Kolkata chase.
“They were absolutely outstanding. Axar Patel led by example,” maxwell said.
“The fielding hasn’t been there the last few games, but they pulled it out tonight. Rahul Tewatia came into the game.
“We probably left ourselves 10-15 runs short, but we backed our plans. The boys were calm the last four overs.
“We’re hanging in by the skin of our teeth and giving the fans something to cheer about.”
Kings XI, who are now three points behind fourth-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad next face the top of the table Mumbai Indians as they continue to try and keep their season alive.