Axar Patel joined an exclusive list when he picked up the first hat-trick of the 2016 Indian Premier League for Kings XI Punjab and helped his team to register a much-needed victory. A bit of good fortune too as a change in cadre saw them showcase a far superior performance against the table-toppers Gujarat Lions and register a 23-run win.
He started off by sending back Dwayne Smith with the third ball as the batsman mistimed a lofted shot to long off. After a single on the fourth ball, he bowled Dinesh Karthik as he inside-edged a flatter delivery on to the stumps. On the last ball, he got his third wicket of the over when Dwayne Bravo dragged a quicker ball on to leg stump to leave Gujarat Lions distracted. Later in the 11th over, Axar struck first ball as Jadeja edged to keeper Wriddhiman Saha to complete the hat-trick. He finished with figures of 4-0-21-4, his best figures in T-20 cricket.
This is also the 14th hat-trick ever in all editions of the IPL. Interestingly, on May 1, Yuvraj had taken the first hat-trick for Kings XI Punjab in the 2009 edition. Now, seven years later, Axar has taken it against Gujarat in his hometown and has reclaimed his team from drowning out of the IPL season-9.