With just 138 runs on the board and his team’s season on the line, Sandeep Sharma and Axar Patel starred with the ball, helping Kings XI Punjab pick up their fifth victory of the season as they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 19 runs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Friday (May 5). While the Royal Challengers batsmen were not going through a good phase, any good knock from one of their star batsmen was enough to take them home but they were bowled out for only 119 courtesy of some exceptional bowling performance from Sandeep and Axar.
The Kings XI were put on the path to victory by Sandeep Sharma devastating spell with with the new ball. The in-form pacer, whose 4 for 20 had helped his team to dismiss Delhi Daredevils for 67 just a week ago took 3 for 22 in his four overs to derail Royal Challengers’ chase.
But what makes Sandeep’s bowling performance even more impressive is that he became the only bowler in the history of the Indian Premier League to dismiss Royal Challengers’ holy trinity- Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers- in the same match. Sandeep began by dismissing the dangerous Gayle, who tried to walk down the pitch and smash it but got a leading edge to point. Kohli also tried to smash the bowler by dancing down the pitch but had to pay a hefty price for it as his stumps were shattered. Then De Villiers was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha.
With Bangalore’s top-order back in the hut, Axar Patel then took the onus on himself to make light work of the lower-order. The left-arm spinner sent back Shane Watson before breaking a dangerous looking partnership by dismissing Pawan Negi and Samuel Badree on successive deliveries to finish with figures of 3 for 11 in 3 overs. The all-rounder had also top-scored for his team, scoring 38 of just 17 deliveries to steer them to a respectable total.
Soon after the match, both the players, in an interview with a happy Kings XI owner Preity Zinta, spoke about what through their mind during the match. Sandeep revealed that he had actually thought about taking the wickets of Gayle, Kohli and De Villiers before the game. He and
“Felt very good after taking three wickets and winning the man-of-the-match. I was thinking before the match that if I could get Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli out, it will be so amazing. Everybody will talk about it. So whatever I was thinking, it came out to be true and I am very for that,” Sandeep said.
Praising Sandeep for his incredible performance, Zinta said the fast bowler had promised taking four wickets in the match in lieu of tickets for his family.
“Sandeep asked me for tickets before the game and I told him that there were no tickets available. But he needed the tickets for his family at the last minute. I asked him what will you give me? Well he had said four but…,”Zinta said as the trio burst into laughter.
Later, Axar, whose quickfire knock had gave his team a decent total, said team mentor Virender Sehwag’s advice during the strategic time out motivated him to stay till the end.
“During the Time Out in the 16th over of our innings, Viru Sir (Virender Sehwag) told me to stay at the crease till the end because if we have a batsman till the 20th over, it will be good for the team. The wicket was behaving so we knew that even 140 would not be easy to chase. I was just thinking to take the team to 140 and it happened. At the end we won and that’s what really matters,” Axar said.