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After stamping his authority in Kings XI Punjab’s first two games of the season, Glenn Maxwell (95 off 43 balls) made sure his team remained unbeaten after their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The big-hitting Australian dominated yet another set of bowlers, including Dale Steyn, as he scored his third half-century in three games this year. After KXIP posted a massive 193 for six, their bowlers, lead by Lakshmipathy Balaji, sealed a 72-run win in Sharjah.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and asked KXIP to take first strike. However, the decision backfired as Virender Sehwag (30) erupted almost immediately. With Cheteshwar Pujara at the other end, the Nawab of Najafgarh unleashed a wide array of strokes. While he got out in the seventh over itself, Sehwag treated onlookers with two fours and three maximums during his 22-ball knock; Darren Sammy caught him near the long-on fence off Amit Mishra’s bowling.
Glenn Maxwell then walked in to join Pujara (35). Both batsmen continued to punish any loose deliveries from the SRH bowlers. They had added 35 runs off 4.2 overs, when Pujara finally perished near the mid-wicket fence while going for a big one off Sammy. However, there was no relief for SRH as the dangerous David Miller was the next man in. But the real danger was Maxwell, who by then had settled into a yet another big-hitting spree. The current Orange Cap holder continued his great run in Pepsi IPL 2014 and kept hitting one big hit after another – including outrageous reverse-sweeps and slog hits. He reached his third consecutive 50 of the tournament, this time in 21 balls.
Sammy finally had Maxwell caught off his bowling, only to find out he had overstepped – giving a second life to a batsman who was sure to capitalise on it. And he did just that as he smacked Sammy for a big hit and a four soon after. Miller (10), however, departed soon off the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, leaving KXIP on 154 for three on 15.3 overs. But Kings XI had yet another clean striker, skipper George Bailey, walking in at No.5. The Australian duo added another 25 runs in which Maxwell (95) had the lion’s share, until he finally departed five runs short of what would have been one of most dominating T20 centuries. During his 43-ball knock, which was ended by Mishra, Maxwell hammered five fours and a whopping nine sixes.
Kumar then got rid of Bailey (10) in the final over of the innings, before he bowled Mitchell Johnson (4) out off the last ball of the same over. So, after successfully chasing down huge totals in their last two games, KXIP now posted a big score – 193 for six – while batting first. For SRH, Kumar was the most outstanding bowler; he finished his four overs at 19 for three.
SRH’s response was not proportionate, to say the least. They lost Dhawan (1) in the second over off the bowling of Johnson. Aaron Finch (19), who was striking the ball well, was the next to depart when Lakshmipathy Balajij trapped him leg-before. Things did not get any better for SRH as the pacer got rid of David Warner (8) two balls later. KXIP made yet another dent when Venugopal Rao (11) walked back to the dugout; Sandeep Sharma bowled him out to leave SRH on 49 for four after seven overs. While Irfan Pathan (5), the new man in, was playing the supporting role to Lokesh Rahul well, he was bowled out by Akshar Patel, before his own innings could take shape.
SRH were now pinning their hopes on Sammy (15) – their No.7 batsman. The big West Indian all-rounder did step on the pedal to accelerate the scoring rate momentarily, but his cameo ended when Patel plucked a great catch at mid-off off Balaji’s bowling. Rahul’s (27) resistance also ended soon thereafter, when he skied a delivery by Patel that was caught by Miller in the deep. At 95 for seven in 14.1 overs, SRH were all but out of the contest. The KXIP bowlers ensured it stayed that way as just 19 runs later, Johnson ended Karn Sharma’s (10) knock. Balaji (4-0-13-4) then claimed his fourth wicket of the game when he cleaned up Dale Steyn (12). In the process, the KXIP pacer staked his claim on the Purple Cap by bypassing Sunil Narine’s wicket tally in the league so far.
SRH’s innings finally ended when Rishi Dhawan got rid of Kumar (1). The Sunrisers could only manage 121 in 19.2 overs, as KXIP earned a huge 72-run win.
Man of the Match: Glenn Maxwell for his match-winning knock of 95 (5x4; 9x6)
The Chennai Super Kings are back, and how! After facing defeat in their season opener, they rebounded with a massive 93-run win over the Delhi Daredevils. With contributions from all across their batting line-up and wickets claimed by all their bowlers, CSK delivered a clinical win after posting 178 for seven in 20 overs.
Earlier, upon winning the toss, MS Dhoni did not hesitate to take first strike. However, unlike the previous match, the CSK openers were not able to give their team a big start as Brendon McCullum (9) got out in the third over off the bowling of Jaydev Unadkat. Dwayne Smith (29) and Suresh Raina then crafted a 44-run stand, until the former departed in the 11th over. Raina (56), however, continued to build a foundation that helped incoming CSK batters to pile on a big score. The southpaw even brought up his half-century in the process, before he returned to the dugout with the score on 108 for three in the 15th over.
Faf du Plessis (24) and Dhoni (32) then played valuable cameos and made sure the scorecard kept reflecting a run-rate of around eight-an-over. However, Shami got rid of du Plessis just when his stand with his skipper was taking shape. And shortly afterwards, Unadkat dealt a massive double-blow by claiming Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in a space of three deliveries. CSK had posted 162 for six in 19 overs at the fall of Jadeja’s wicket.
They needed a big last over to top off an innings that was laced with several valuable contributions. And that is exactly what they got from Mithun Manhas (13), whose five-ball innings saw him strike two boundaries and take his team’s total past the 175-run mark. R Ashwin (1) was the one casualty in the final over; he was run-out by Mohammed Shami. CSK played out their quota of 20 overs at 178 for seven.
For DD, Unadkat was the pick of the bowlers. The pacer picked up three wickets for 32 runs in his four overs.
Facing a big target, DD began their chase with a big jolt up front. They lost Mayank Agarwal (2) in the second over itself. He perished off the bowling of Ishwar Pandey, who was on song during the game. The situation did not get any better for the Daredevils as Murali Vijay (11) soon departed, dismissed by Mohit Sharma. Pandey then returned to get rid of Manoj Tiwary (0), leaving DD on 17 for three and in all sorts of trouble.
In came JP Duminy (15), who has been a standout performer for DD so far this season. However, the South African failed to add substance to a fast-faltering run-chase and perished in the ninth over; he was trapped leg-before by Dwayne Smith. Even Ross Taylor (6) had a forgettable day at the office and fell prey to Ben Hilfenhaus. Dinesh Karthik (21), who was only one of two Daredevils batters to go past the 20-run mark, was the next to depart; Ashwin bowled him out with the score on 74 for six. Jadeja then broke Jimmy Neesham’s (22) resistance a short while later. Ashwin then picked up Shami’s (1) wicket, before Jadeja finished off the DD innings with Shahbaz Nadeem’s (3) scalp. Nathan Coulter-Nile did not bat as he was absent hurt.
The Daredevils had a forgettable outing as they folded for 84 in 15.4 overs, thereby handing CSK a massive 93-run win. For CSK, Pandey, Jadeja and Ashwin took two wickets each. Man of the Match: Suresh Raina for his timely half-century