Kings XI Punjab (166 for 2) beat Deccan Chargers (165 for 8) by 8 wickets
Man of the Match: Paul Valthaty
Paul Valthaty put up yet another sterling performance, this time with both bat and ball to steer Kings XI Punjab to an easy eight wicket win over Deccan Chargers at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad. Valthaty first ensured that he restricted Deccan to a challenging total with some cunning slow cutters, following a threatening partnership between Kumar Sangakkara and Shikhar Dhawan, that was on course to take the game away from then. Next, he opened the innings with the bat and continued from where he left off against Chennai Super Kings to seal the game for Punjab in no time, with some great support from his skipper Adam Gilchrist.
Following the early loss of Sunny Sohal, the Chargers fought back well courtesy a counter-attacking partnership between Sangakkara and Dhawan. The duo was severe on Praveen Kumar, Ryan Harris as well as Ryan MClaren and looked in charge as they added 75 in quick time. However, one brilliant piece of fielding by Shaun Marsh was enough to turn around the fortunes of the sides. Marsh dived full length and stopped a fierce stroke from Sangakkara at extra cover. The loss of a run made the former Lankan skipper uncharacteristically slog sweep the next ball off Piyush Chawla, only to find the safe hands of McLaren in the deep. That was the beginning of the end for Deccan.
Three runs later, Dhawan perished to what was to be a leg side wide from Valthaty, but his effort to get too smart got the better of him as he was gobbled up at short fine leg. From there onwards, Deccan’s innings hit a roadblock and Valthaty was in charge. Bharat Chipli, who was Deccan’s hero in the last game, found Valthaty’s slower ones extremely tough to handle. He was lucky to survive on one occasion, but perished soon after going for a big shot. At 112 for four, in the 15th over, Kings XI were clearly in the commanding position. However, the big hitting Daniel Christian raised Deccan’s hopes by slamming 30 off 14 balls.
Once again, it was Valthaty who turned the game in Punjab’s favour with two strikes in two consecutive balls. He first cleaned up Christian and very next ball trapped Amit Mishra plumb in front as the latter tried to go for a scoop shot he is clearly not adept at. Valthaty found good support in McLaren at the other end, who got the bog scalps of J P Duminy and the big hitting Manpreet Gony. Thanks to their efforts, Deccan were restricted to 165 for 8.
The home side still had a chance, considering they had Dale Steyn in their ranks. But, Valthaty and Gilchrist sealed the game inside the first five overs itself. Runs flowed at an easy pace off Steyn and his opening partner Ishant Sharma. However, it was Gony who had to bear the brunt of Valthaty’s attack 23 runs came in his one over, in which Valthaty charged him, drove him and lofted him with utter ease. Valthaty had an answer to every delivery Gony bowled. With no pressure on him, Gilchrist also found the going easy and soon eased into his game. In fact, he went on to beat Valthaty in the race for 50 in typical Gilchrist style. In all, he slammed five fours and three sixes before perishing to Mishra. Valthaty’s numbers were even more astounding, but not surprising considering his previous knock. He faced a mere 47 balls for his 75, clearing the boundary on as many as five occasions before he too fell to Mishra, the only wicket-taking bowler for Deccan.
Abhishek Nayar and Dinesh Karthik completed the formalities and the match was over with more than two overs to spare. A comprehensive win indeed.
Hussey set up Chennai’s win
Chennai Super Kings 183 for 5 beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (162 for 7) by 21 runs
Man of the Match: Michael Hussey
Michael Hussey batted through the entire Chennai Super Kings innings and scored a brisk, unbeaten 83 from 56 balls to set up an easy 21 run win for the Super Kings along with some good support from his team mates as well as the opposition, Royal Challengers Bangalore, who suffered their third defeat in the tournament. Hussey’s brilliance was well supported by quick cameos by Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina and M S Dhoni as, batting first, Chennai put up an impressive score of 183 for 5. Bangalore were miserable in the field, with misfields, overthrows and dropped catch from even their better fielders. While a couple of experienced bowlers did well to keep down the runs, the rest like Johan van der Wath, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Ryan Ninan were taken for plenty as Chennai set up a match-winning total. Then, when their turn with the bat came, Bangalore were equally miserable. They lost too many early wickets. And even though A B de Villiers and Virat Kohli got among the runs, the intent was clearly missing.
The match, thus, was essentially about Hussey and Chennai’s batting effort. Hussey hit eleven boundaries in all, eight of them coming on the on side, signifying that Bangalore’s bowlers had not got their act right. But, Hussey went along on his merry ways and found the fence on the other side too when the opportunity presented. In between, his running between the wickets was amazing, typifying the Aussie in him.
Hussey got good support from his mates as well. His opening partner Vijay raced to 31 from 21 balls. He slammed van der Wath for three big hits, which included one six, as Chennai shifted gears. At the other end, Hussey had it easy against Dilshan finding the fence on a couple of occasions. Even as Ninan sent back Vijay, Raina came in and kept Chennai ahead of the game. He got the better of both Ninan and van der Wath, racing to 29 in 16 balls, before handing over the baton his skipper Dhoni, who himself blasted 22 in 16 balls.
184 was a chaseable target provided Bangalore got off to a Valthaty-style start. On the contrary, the first three wickets, including the big one of Dilshan, fell with a mere 31 on board. And with de Villiers and Kohli also struggling to up the ante during their alliance, Bangalore were always playing catch up. No surprising, they came second by some distance.
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