Kings XI Punjab 232 for 2 beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 121 by 111 runs
Man of the match: Adam Gilchrist
In an ideally scripted world, the Royal Challengers would have outdone Kings XI Punjab with Chris Gayle going hammer and tongs at the picturesque Dharamsala. However, it was pretty much the other way round as Punjab skipper, Adam Gilchrist, who for a day returned to the Gilly of old and smashed Bangalore’s bowlers all over the park in a display of batting reminiscent of the equally big-hitting Gayle’s batting. Gilchrist found an exceptional partner in Shaun Marsh, who was equally aggressive, and the duo featured in a world record partnership of 206 runs as the Kings XI finally ended Bangalore’s winning streak. The mammoth 111-run win not only ensured that Gilchrist’s team was level on points with Kolkata, but also gave a massive boost to their net run rate as Bangalore folded up for a meagre 121.
Though there were other impressive performances in the game, the match was all about Gilchrist. Following his heroics with the bat, he made his impact on the game in the field too, taking an excellent catch diving to his left hand side. More that the wicket, it was the fact that Chris Gayle was dismissed that mattered the most. Bangalore are used to Gayle getting the team off to a great start. But, on this occasion, they were clearly in unknown territory and things only got worse. Ryan Harris sent back both Gayle as well as the other in form man, Virat Kohli. Then, Praveen Kumar continued his association with maidens, bowled his fifth of this IPL. With runs not coming, the Bangalore batsmen were forced to go after Piyush Chawla, who cleaned up the lower order, helping himself to four wickets.
Returning to the man of the moment Gilchrist, his knock would certainly give a run for its money to some of equally devastating innings by Gayle. Gilchrist took his time to flourish. In fact, most of the runs were scored by Paul Valthaty in the early part of the innings. It was only in the company of Marsh that Gilchrist really began to open up. He began by thumping a short ball from Abhimanyu Mithun and then sashayed down the wicket to loft S Aravind, who until then was proving rather economical, and then slammed him down the wicket again. At the other end, Marsh also got into the act and dispatched him for a six and a boundary. 21 runs came off the over, and Punjab were well and truly underway.
Kohli, taking over from the injured Daniel Vettori, brought in Gayle to try and slow down the scoring. But, on this day, everything was in vain. Gilchrist lofted for two mammoth sixes and Bangalore continued to bleed, left right and centre. Nothing changed even with the introduction of South African pace man Charl Langeveldt. Gilchrist pulled him for two massive sixes before completing a batting hat trick of sixes by depositing him over the midwicket boundary. The bowler and the captain could do nothing but watch in amazement.
Their expressions remained the same as Punjab weren’t done yet. Marsh also took the opportunity to prove some of his big hitting skills. He looted 30 runs off a Johan van der Wath, all on his own, which would have almost made Gilchrist jealous. The over was perfectly divided with three sixes and three fours. The boundaries came in the extra-cover region while the sixes ranged between midwicket, long-off and one straight down the ground. While for Punjab it rained fours and sixes, the same cannot be said of Bangalore, who clearly capitulated under pressure.
Chargers cruise to easy win over Warriors
Deccan Chargers 138 for 4 beat Pune Warriors 136 for 9 by six wickets
Man of the match: Amit Mishra
For once, the Deccan Chargers bowled to their potential and the result was that they were successful in keeping the Pune Warriors down to a chaseable total. Their batsmen too did not falter for a change as Kumar Sangakkara signed off with a consolation win for his team. All the Decaan bowlers, pacers Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma as well as spinners Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha were all over the Pune Warriors batsmen, as a result of which, the Yuvraj Singh-led side never found themselves in any position of strength. Daniel Christian too played his part in the bowling department as the Deccan Chargers cruised home to an easy six-wicket win.
The only thing that went right for Pune was when the aggressive Mitchell Marsh went after the bowlers. However, that only proved to be a flash in the pan for the Warriors. Kumar Sangakkara’s experiment of opening the innings with JP Duminy did not work. But, once the ball was in Steyn and Ishant’s hands, the Warriors’ collapse began. Jesse Ryder was sent back by an awesome catch taken by Ravi Teja in the cover region. Teja dived to his left and successfully plucked the ball. Sourav Ganguly could not repeat hits heroics of his comeback game. He offered a simple chance to Ojha at mid-off, off Christian’s bowling. Ojha, himself, got into the wicket-taking act when he fooled Pandey with an incoming delivery and disturbed his furniture.
Pune were in deep strife losing three wickets for 45, but things only got worse for them. Amit Mishra got back to back wickets to put paid to the Warriors hopes. He first forced Robin Uthappa to edge one which was held gleefully by the bowler himself. The very next ball, Mithun Manhas failed to read a googly and went for a cut, which proved fatal as his stumps were dislodged. From a disappointing 45 for 3, the Warriors slumped to a pathetic 45 for 5 and they were was no looking back from there.
Skipper Yuvraj Singh tried to steady the ship once again. Yuvraj slashed Ojha for two boundaries in a row, but could not last long enough as fell to Christian, top edging one. If at all the Warriors to gain some credibility to their scoreboard, it was due to a wonderful counter attack by the other Marsh – Mitchell. He slammed the spinners for some big hits as 34 runs came in the last three overs of the innings, Marsh finding some support from Wayne Parnell. It wasn’t enough though as Shikhar Dhawan and Sunny Sohal got their team off to a good start, before Sangakkara and Duminy shut them out of the game, and the tournament as well.
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