Axar's hat-trick, new captain boost Kings XI
"One has to give credit to Axar (Patel). He was under pressure in previous matches. It was an incredible performance by him," said Murali Vijay, who was appointed captain midway into the cash-rich tournament, in place of David Miller.
Hailing his team's 23-run victory over league leaders Gujarat Lions, Vijay said, "We have been missing out on the smaller aspects of the game in the previous matches. It was bound to come because we have quality players in the side."
Invited to bat by Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina, Kings XI Punjab were all out for 154 in the stipulated 20 overs, but restricted the opposition to 131 for nine.
Axar spun a web around the Gujarat batsmen and finished with impressive figures of 4/21 in his quota of four overs, which included a split hat-trick. He first removed dangerous Dwayne Smith in his second over and then took two consecutive wickets in the last two balls of the over by removing Dinesh Karthik (2) and Dwayne Bravo (0).
He came back to dismiss Ravindra Jadeja with the first ball of his third over to claim the hat-trick.