It was a must-win game for Kings XI Punjab and they did not disappoint fans at the picturesque HPCA stadium. Gilchrist’s men rose to the occasion to beat Delhi Daredevils by 29 runs to keep alive their slim hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
Their opponents, on the other hand, are languishing at the bottom with nothing but pride at stake. Such teams tend to spoil other teams’ party, but without their skipper and batting mainstay Virender Sehwag, they were always going to find the hosts too determined to be outwitted.
DD chose to chase a target on a bouncy pitch where the ball comes onto the bat and the outfield is fast. But such a plan can boomerang if you fail to keep the rival total in check. And that’s what happened to them as KXIP, banking on a fluent century partnership between Paul Valthaty and Shaun Marsh, posted a healthy total of 170. DD did make an honest effort but the KXIP bowlers, led by UP trio of Piyush Chawla (3-16), Praveen Kumar and Shalabh Srivastava, proved handful for them.
KXIP with 12 points and two games in hand need to win their remaining matches against Royal Challengers Bangalore (May 17) and Deccan Chargers (May 21) to have a chance of sneaking into the last-four. It’s an uphill task, especially against the rampaging RCB.
Not for the first time, it was the inform pair of Valthaty and Marsh who set up the strong KXIP total with some scintillating strokeplay. The two took the Delhi Daredevils bowling by the scruff of the neck, on a pitch with greenish tinge and good bounce. They were not overawed by the steep bounce Morne Morkle generated and hit out boldly to collect runs at a fast clip. Their 102-run second-wicket partnership came in only 11 overs and they were ready to cause more havoc but Irfan Pathan, producing his best spell in this IPL, removed them off successive deliveries.
The two had come together when Adam Gilchrist, not for the first time in this IPL, failed to get going. That was the crucial phase as had either of them had departed early, the rest of the batting would have come under tremendous pressure. Valthaty was in a belligerent mood reaching his third IPL half-century in only 38 balls when he clobbered James Hopes for a six and a four, with a total of 18 runs coming from the over.
Shaun Marsh took the cue and hammered left-arm spinner Sridharan Sriram for 25 runs in an over.