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IPL: Smith’s 74 dents Kings XI’s playoff chances

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SUMMARY: Gujarat Lions 192 for 4 (Smith 74, Raina 39, Sandeep 2-29) beat Kings XI Punjab 189 for 3 (Amla 104, Marsh 58, Kulkarni 1-24) by six wickets

Hashim Amla scored his second century of the tournament, only the third player to do so in an IPL season, but Kings XI Punjab’s playoff chances were dented with their sixth loss in 11 matches.

Staying fifth on the table, the gap between them and fourth-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad remained three points. Amla’s first century – against Mumbai Indians – had also gone in vain when Kings XI could not defend 198, and on Sunday night, they failed to defend 189 against Gujarat Lions.

Not in contention for the playoffs, Lions were depleted without international recruits Andrew Tye, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo and Jason Roy (on national duty), and played only three against Kings XI – Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch and James Faulkner.

Smith’s power-packed 74 off 39 balls gave their chase a rollicking start and threw Kings XI’s plans off track: none of their first three bowlers – Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Varun Aaron – struck in their first spells. When Smith departed in the 12th over, they needed 70 off 52 balls, and even though Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik did not finish it off smoothly, Karthik stayed till the end to seal a nervy last-over win. (ESPNCricinfo)

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