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Kings XI Punjab registered yet another resounding win in Pepsi IPL 2014 – this time against the Royal Challengers Bangalore by a 32-run margin. Batting first, the George Bailey-led side posted a mountainous 198 for eight – that was fuelled by a stunning half-century by David Miller (66 off 29 balls) and invaluable cameos by Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell during various points in the innings. Then, the KXIP bowlers – led by Sandeep Sharma (4-0-25-3) – created regular dents in the RCB line-up to restrict them to 166 for nine. As a result of this win, the Mohali franchise has further solidified its position atop the league table.
Earlier, RCB won the toss and asked their opponents to take first strike. Both Virender Sehwag and Mandeep Singh scored at a fair clip as they punished any loose offerings from the RCB bowlers. They brought up the team’s 50 in the sixth over itself. However, soon after that, Mandeep Singh (21) returned to the dugout; Harshal Patel dismissed him with the KXIP score on 60. But then, Sehwag was joined by Glenn Maxwell, who got off the mark with a boundary. Thanks to the brisk start, KXIP notched up 64 runs in the powerplay.
However, RCB soon got an important breakthrough with the wicket of Sehwag (30); Yuzvendra Chahal accounted for his scalp in the seventh over. This brought the deadly duo of Maxwell and David Miller together. And as has been the case so far this season, Miller played himself in as his senior partner went after the opposition bowlers from the get go. In fact, the right-hander struck Yuvraj Singh for two consecutive sixes in the eighth over to announce his intentions. But Maxwell’s (25) 11-ball blitz came to an end when Mitchell Starc caught him on the mid-wicket fence off the bowling of Chahal.
Skipper George Bailey walked in to bat with the scorecard reading 93 for three in 8.5 overs. The KXIP 100 then came up in the 10th over; and at the halfway stage, the visitors were on 107 for three. Bailey (1), however, perished soon off the bowling of Albie Morkel. However, Miller continued with the big-hitting. The left-hander brought up his half-century in just 23 balls – with a massive 102-m six. Even Wriddhiman Saha joined him in plundering the RCB bowlers as the duo scored 26 runs off a Harshal Patel over – the 16th of the innings.
But finally, Varun Aaron got rid of the destructive Miller (66) – who smashed eight fours and three maximums while facing 29 balls – leaving KXIP on 170 for five in 16.3 overs. Harshal Patel then dismissed Saha (17), who added 14 runs for the sixth wicket with Mitchell Johnson (16*). And in the final over, Starc got rid of Akshar Patel (2) and Shivam Sharma (4) as KXIP managed 198 for eight.
In response, Parthiv Patel and Chris Gayle (4) opened the RCB innings, but the latter was dismissed by Sandeep Sharma in the third over. And off the very next delivery, the KXIP pacer got rid of Virat Kohli (0), leaving RCB on eight for two in 2.2 overs. Sachin Rana then joined Parthiv Patel in the middle (13); but their 18-run partnership was also broken by Sandeep Sharma when he claimed the latter in the sixth over. Even Rana’s (18) stay in the middle was brief; Akshar Patel bowled him out in the next over.
This dismissal brought AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh together. But the experienced duo could only add 11 runs off 16 balls, before KXIP struck again; this time, it was the debutant, Shivam Sharma, who had Yuvraj Singh (3) caught in the slips. The young spinner even halted Morkel’s (16) eight-ball cameo, leaving RCB struggling at 76 for six in 11.1 overs.
However, de Villiers (53) continued to do what he does best – smack bowlers all over the park. Thanks to a flurry of sixes and fours, he even reached his half-century in quick time. But he perished soon after, off the bowling of Lakshmipathy Balaji, after adding 49 runs (off 27 balls) with Starc. Johnson then got the better of Harshal Patel in the 17th over to reduce RCB to 133 for eight and all but sealed the fate of the contest. And finally, Balaji returned to dismiss Starc (29) in the 20th over. RCB ended up with 166 for nine, 32 runs short of KXIP’s tally.
Man of the Match: Sandeep Sharma for his match-winning bowling performance.
Thanks to an inspired bowling performance – led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-0-14-4) – the Sunrisers Hyderabad registered a 32-run away win against the Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad. Defending a modest 134, SRH bowled their opponents out for a paltry 102.
Earlier, RR won the toss and chose to field first. SRH's innings was opened by skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch. And while the latter was trying to get his eye in, Dhawan (33) unleashed from the word go. He belted seven fours in an attempt to give his team a flying start. However, just when he was looking set for a big score, Watson bowled him out. At that point SRH were on 37 for one in four overs.
Lokesh Rahul then joined Finch in the middle. The duo brought up their team's 50 soon after. But Finch (9) then got out off the bowling of Rajat Bhatia in the seventh over. Even Rahul (18) did not stick around too long; Bhatia bowled him out, leaving SRH on 67 for three after nine overs.
And then, in the 12th over, Pravin Tambe had David Warner (6) stumped. The situation did not get any better for the visitors as they struggled to score quick runs while preserving wickets. And Bhatia soon got his third victim of the night when he uprooted Naman Ojha’s (17) stumps. The RR bowler finished his four-over quota with outstanding figures of 23 for three.
Moses Henriques and Irfan Pathan then came together and took SRH past the 100-run mark in the 15th over. However, Watson returned into the attack in the 17th over and claimed Henriques (9) and Karn Sharma (0) off consecutive deliveries to bag a hat-trick – he had dismissed Dhawan off the last ball of his previous over. This marked the second hat-trick – the other was claimed by Tambe against KKR at the same venue – of Pepsi IPL 2014. Sanju Samson then ran Dale Steyn (9) out, after he had added 21 runs for the eighth wicket with Pathan. And soon after that, Samson effected another run-out – that of Amit Mishra (0). In one of the most unusual dismissals in the history of cricket, the SRH batsman failed to make his ground despite two errant throws failed to hit the stumps. However, thanks to Pathan (21*), SRH scored 135 for nine by the end of 20 overs.
In response, RR lost Ajinkya Rahane (0) in the first over itself; he was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Karun Nair and Samson then joined forces, and the duo added 27 for the second wicket. However, Steyn struck in the fourth over to get rid of Nair (12). The Royals even lost Samson (16) off the bowling of Karn Sharma before he could make an impact. Henriques then dealt a telling blow when he had Watson (11) caught behind in the seventh over, leaving SRH on 41 for four.
However, Stuart Binny and Steve Smith then added 37 runs in an innings-steadying partnership. But Warner then ran Binny (12) out in the 14th over to swing the momentum back in SRH’s favour. And soon after that, Steyn got rid of Smith (22) to rock the home side on the back foot. Even the hard-hitting James Faulkner could not resurrect the faltering run-chase; Bhuvneshwar dismissed him in the 18th over. And off the very next ball, the medium-pacer got the better of Bhatia (4) to claim his third wicket of the night. A hat-trick, however, eluded the bowler as Kane Richardson worked the next ball away for a single. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar did claim his fourth wicket, when Richardson (1) handed him a high return catch later in the same over. As a result of his four-wicket haul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar climbed atop this season’s wicket-taker’s list
At 91 for nine in 18 overs, SRH were all but out of the contest. And finally, Pathan finished off the RR innings by claiming Tambe’s (3) wicket. The Royals were bowled out for 102 in 19.5 overs, 32 runs short of SRH’s total.
Man of the Match: Bhuvneshwar Kumar for his match-winning bowling spell