Kochi Tuskers Kerala 98 for 2 beat Rajasthan Royals 97 by eight wickets
Man of the match: Brad Hodge
In what was one of the worst batting performances in this edition of the IPL, the Rajasthan Royals were shot out for 97 and Kochi then chased the target down with 8 wickets and 76 balls to spare to keep their hopes of progressing in the tournament alive. Batting first on a smallish ground, the Royals tried to bat Kochi out of the game, but only managed to embarrass themselves. Brad Hodge helped himself to four wickets and an unbeaten 32 as Kochi cruised home and, in the process, knocked the Royals out of the tournament.
While Hodge picked up four, S Sreesanth was equally impressive and it was his opening spell during which he picked up the wickets of Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane that set the tone of the game. The Royals had faint chances of progressing further in the tournament at the start of the game, but the chance evaporated rather quickly as the partnerships never built. Faiz Fazal fell lbw early on in the piece. However, the bigger wickets were those of Dravid and Rahane. With three wickets down for 26, Rajasthan were in the dock very on.
Unfortunately, Rajasthan decided not to try and rebuild. Instead the batsmen continued to go for their strokes and perished one after the other. There were some positive moments too. Ashok Menaria slammed a six off Sreesanth and Shane Watson, in fact, got three off little known left-arm spinner P Prashanth. However, it did not last long. Watson was clean bowled by a fuller length ball from Prasanth Parameswaran, the 37-run over bowler! And then, Hodge took over.
The Aussie discard got the easy scalps of Pinal Shah, Jacob Oram, Shane Warne and Menaria, all of whom perished in an effort to loft the ball out of the ground. At the loss of the four wickets, Rajasthan had slid to 89 for 9 and eventually folded up for a paltry 97.
Kochi then took the opportunity to improve their net run rate. Brendon McCullum started by going after the erratic Shaun Tait. After being clean bowled by Tait off a no ball, McCullum slashed Tait for a four and six. Next, he lifted Oram for three sixes straight down the ground, before falling for 29 off just 12 balls. Hodge and Parthiv Patel continued the good work as the game was brought to an end in 7.2 overs. Not surprisingly, it was among the biggest wins in IPL history.
Kings XI Punjab 170 for 6 beat Delhi Daredevils 141 for 8
Man of the Match: Piyush Chawla
Paul Valthaty returned to form slamming a stroke filled 62 as Punjab notched up an impressive 170 batting first, more than enough against the increasingly hapless Delhi Daredevils. The latter put up another pathetic effort in the field and followed it up with yet another below par batting effort as they clearly missed Virender Sehwag’s exploits at the top.
In contrast, Punjab found a new hero in Piyush Chawla, who has been under the hammer for a while. Chawla took the opportunity to get some easy wickets against the struggling Daredevils as the Kings notched up their third consecutive win to keep their campaign alive, just like Kochi did later in the day.
Punjab weren’t on top of their game per se, but what Punjab did badly, Delhi did worse. Irfan Pathan swung the ball and picked up three wickets, but found nothing in the form of support from the other end. Morne Morkel troubled Valthaty with his pace and bounce. As a result, he offered plenty of chances, but Delhi spilled everything. Yogesh Nagar and Irfan were equally responsible for allowing Valthaty to survive an easy run out chance. Soon, Venugopal Rao also put down an easy chance.
Looking at Punjab’s flaws, Gilchrist threw his wicket away. Shaun Marsh tried to keep the game in the balance, but Valthaty continued his ugly ways and kept getting away. He tried to cut, pull and slash all balls at his disposal, but did not succeeded. Valthaty finally managed to slam two sixes off James Hopes to give himself some confidence. Hopes made another mistake bringing on S Sriram in the 13th over. Marsh slogged him for three big sixes on the on side as the over went for 25 runs. Punjab raced away. Marsh and Valthaty both fell to Irfan in the second spell. However, Naman Ojha dropped Dinesh Karthik and that ensured Punjab ended up with 170.
Delhi chase did not get underway in a great fashion. David Warner had another bad day. He and Naman Ojha could not press the accelerator and as a result the pressure built. Praveen Kumar bowled another maiden over. Ojha finally found the middle of the bat, slashing Shalabh Srivastava for two sixes and a four. However, Ojha soon fell for 28 and Warner too fell soon after.
Piyush Chawla, who had a bad World Cup, which has cost him a place in the national side, finally found some groove against the equally struggling Daredevils batsmen. He reined himself him, not showing over reliance on the googly. He was rewarded with the important wickets of Sriram, Rao and skipper Hopes, all in consecutive overs. As a result, Delhi went down without a fight and, deservedly, stayed at the bottom of the IPL table.
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