5 from 5 for Kings XI Punjab

2014-04-29 07:03
David Miller (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - It is five from five for the Kings XI Punjab after they demolished the Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets in their IPL match in Dubai on Monday.

According to the supersport.com website, it was more nervous than it looked, especially when the three big hitters, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and Virender Sehwag, were back in the hut with the score on 88 for five, chasing a target of 125.

From such a weak base, the Challengers put up a valiant fight, although they were given a very generous decision for the caught-behind dismissal of Sehwag, on 32, off leg-spinner Yuzvenra Chahal.

That was Chahal's second wicket in the over, having legitimately had Miller similarly caught for 26 off 20.

The South African slugger was picking up the baton after Maxwell was superbly caught by a diving Mitchell Starc on the boundary, pulling Varun Aaron. The lanky 1.97m Australian had minutes earlier reached high to dismiss Wriddhiman Saha, off Aaron's previous over.

But George Bailey and Rishi Dhawan stayed calm and eased the Kings XI to the finish line with an over to spare.

Earlier, Punjab paceman Sandeep Sharma had taken two huge wickets in three balls in the second over of the day to undermine the Challengers' innings, but it was a batting performance only marginally better than the humiliating effort against Rajasthan Royals two days ago, when they scored 70.

All the talk at the toss was about the return of superstar Chris Gayle, who sat out the first four matches with a back injury, and who watched his team slip from after a good start to the season to two dramatic losses.

He edged the first ball from off-spinner Glenn Maxwell for four off a big heave, swiped another four and then drove two mighty sixes to rack up 20 run off the first over. The Challengers were back. Until the second ball of the next over, when Gayle danced out and drove down the wrong lane, the stumps shattered behind him.

By the end of the fourth over, the Challengers were in familiar territory at 26 for four.

Sandeep claimed Virat Kohli with a contentious lbw two balls later, then added Parthiv Patel in the next over. In between, Mitchell Johnson had Yogesh Takawale caught behind.

Such is the depth of the Challengers line-up that they can bring AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh in at 5 and 6, and they set about repairing the damage. They put on 41 off 33 balls, when De Villiers slapped an easy catch to backward point off Rishi Dhawan's second ball for 17.

Thereafter it became a procession. Sandeep ended best of the bowlers with 3-15 and earned the Man-of-the-Match award.


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