Smith, Kishan stand dents Punjab's hopes of making playoffs

In Pics: How Gujarat beat Punjab in a thrilling finishThe 34-year-old veteran of 104 Tests, who has a triple ton to his credit, said every now and then when a batsman, who is not known for lusty hitting, scores big in T20 cricket, such talks crop up. In the eight-team competition, Punjab are placed at number five spot with five wins and ten points from 10 games, while Gujarat Lions have just three wins from 11 games with six points.

On a high after sealing a playoffs berth, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would aim for a top-two finish when they take on Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Tuesday.

Despite posting 208-7, the Lions were blown away by Rishabh Pant's sensational 43-ball 97-run innings and Sanju Samson's 61 in their last match against Delhi and they would still be reeling from the seven-wicket loss.

Having been sent in by Gujarat captain Suresh Raina, Kings XI lost New Zealand import Martin Guptill for two to bring Amla and first-drop Shaun Marsh together in the first over. Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan and Raina himself chipped in as they chased down the target with two balls remaining. GL now needed eight runs off six balls. Punjab added to their own woes, when David Miller and Gurkeerat Singh dropped Smith, in the sixth and eighth over respectively. Karthik was on strike and he scored three runs off the first ball. The hosts started on a poor note losing opener Martin Guptill to the fifth ball of the match. Sachin's innings included 12 boundaries and three huge sixes as Mumbai posted a strong total of 182 in their designated 20 overs.

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Amla, known for his classic batting and being more of a player for the Test fold, has been proving his critics wrong as he continues his onslaught in the shortest format of the game.

During a match between Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Amla tried to cut Aniket Choudhary delivery but missed and the ball was caught by wicketkeeper Kedar Jadhav. Soon after reaching his half-century, Amla signaled intent, hitting the leg-spinner Ankit Soni for a six over long-off. However, most of his efforts have not been complimented well by the bowling and fielding unit.

Gujarat pacers Thampi, Pradeep Sangwan and Dhawal Kulkarni picked up a wicket each. The likes of Shardul Thakur, James Faulkner, Basil Thampi and Ravindra Jadeja have failed to live upto the expectations of the side.

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