Dubai: Superman Glenn Maxwell may have failed to entertain the fans for second time in a row but that did not stop a fully energised Kings XI Punjab from winning their fifth straight match in the Pepsi Indian Premier League.
The undisputed Kings beat Bangalore Royal Challengers by five wickets at the Dubai International Stadium, on Monday.
The much-heralded batting line-up though muddled in the beginning while chasing a target of 124 runs, skipper George Bailey and all-rounder Rishi Dhawan steered the team smoothly with four overs to spare.
Bailey and Dhawan were unbeaten on 23 and 16 runs respectively. Opening batsman Virender Sehwag once again top scored for the side with a 26-ball 32 runs. Varun Aaron and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took two wickets each for Bangalore.
Earlier, during the Punjab chase, Mitchell Starc thrilled the Bangalore fans when he took two stunning catches in two overs off the bowling of Varun Aaron.
In the fifth over, he first caught Wriddhiman Saha for two runs. Starc running to his left from fine leg, took the catch calmly inches from the rope.
His second catch came in the seventh over when he brilliantly caught big-hitter Glenn Maxwell. Starch ran in from the ropes to dive forward to scoop it inches from the ground to bring down Punjab to 51 for 3.
Batting first, Bangalore had an electrifying start from West Indian superstar Chris Gayle who made a comeback to the side after missing the first four games following injury.
Gayle scored twenty runs from the first over bowled by none other than Maxwell.
Gayle scored two fours and two sixes in the Maxwell over before he was bowled by Sandeep for 20 runs in the second over.
Gayle played down the wrong line as the ball shaped away from him took the outside edge before crashing onto the off stump.
Skipper Virat Kohli could only survive two balls as he was Sandeep's second victim in the same over. Kohli was caught plumb before the wicket by Sandeep and umpire Billy Bowden obliged.
Later Mitchell Johnson had Yokesh Takawale fishing for the edge to be grabbed by Wriddhiman Saha.
Sandeep then claimed opener Parthiv Patel's wicket. Patel who took just two runs was going for a big on-the-up drive but edged through to the reliable hands of Saha to bring Bangalore down to 26 for 4.
South African skipper AB de Villers along with Yuvraj Singh then got the act together and steadied the innings.
De Villers sored 17 from 15 balls that included two boundaries to the fence before Maxwell caught him on a short and wide ball from medium fast bowler Rishi Dhawan in the ninth over.
Albie Morkel who came next left soon after a thick inside edge from Lakshmipathy Balaji crashed into the stumps. Morkel scored 15 runs that included a six.
It was the 14th over that changed the course of the game when Yuvraj slammed a short ball from Dhawan over deep mid-wicket was picked by David Miller to silence the crowd after his fireworks early in the innings.
The star batsman smashed four fours and one six to top score with 35 runs for Bangalore. Yuvraj's wicket saw Bangalore tottering on 98 for 7. The tail wagged for some time before Bangalore finally folded up for 124 runs.
A delighted Bailey thanked his team for ending the UAE leg of their matches of IPL on a high. "I am really glad at the way my players have shown-up in this tournament. They have put up an unbelievable performance so far," Bailey added.
Top star Sandeep Sharma said, "I'm feeling lucky thatI'm winning back-to-back Man of the Match awards, I'm feeling awesome. I've seen Gayle playing many times, hitting many other bowlers, it was an awesome moment (to get him bowled)."
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