Kings XI Punjab's new captain Murli Vijay has termed left-arm spinner Axar Patel's bowling spell as 'incredible' during their stunning 23-run win over table toppers Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League match in Rajkot.
Axar did the star turn as laggards Kings XI rode on the left-arm spinner's hat-trick, first of the ongoing ninth edition of the league, to upset Gujarat Lions on Sunday.
"One has to give credit to Axar (Patel). He was under pressure in previous matches. It was an incredible performance by Axar," said Vijay, who was appointed captain midway into the cash-rich tournament in place of David Miller. 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 9.
Patel 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.
Axar first removed dangerous Dwayne Smith in his second over and then took two consecutive wickets in 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.
"We have been missing out on the smaller aspects of the game in the previous games. It was bound to come because we have quality players in the side," Vijay said about Sunday's win.
Vijay led the team from the front scoring 55 off 41 balls.
Vijay also praised two pace duo of Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma for their efforts.
"Mohit and Sandeep were excellent and followed by Axar. We won the match because of team efforts," he said.
Asked about the form of David Miller, Vijay said, "He (Miller) is an asset to any team. He struck hard in the nets soon he would be among the top scorers."
Miller after being released from the captaincy burden made 31 off 27 balls.