Kumar Sangakkara led from the front as tournament laggards Kings XI Punjab showed rare form to humble table-toppers Mumbai Indians by six wickets in an Indian Premier League match on Friday.
Already out of IPL’s semifinal race, the Punjab side effected as many as five changes in their squad and the intensity showed as they bowled with a purpose and batted sensibly to record only their third win in 11 outings.
For them, Piyush Chawla (3/24) silenced the Mumbai top guns, including Sachin Tendulkar, while Irfan Pathan (3/29) dented the middle order to restrict the visitors to a modest 154 for nine. Five of the visiting batsmen were bowled, most in an IPL match.
For Mumbai, JP Duminy (35), Ambati Rayudu (33) and Tendulkar (29) chipped in with useful cameos but the Kings XI bowlers never really allowed them to go ballistic.
And the Punjab side showed the same alacrity with the bat.
Mahela Jayawardene (31 of 18 balls) gave them a flying start and Adrian Barath (33) provided the solidity while skipper Kumar Sangakkara (56 of 42 balls) stayed put till the penultimate over as the home side cruised to 158 for four in 19.2 overs.
Yuvraj Singh’s struggle to wriggle out of a prolonged bad patch, however, continued with the left-hander getting out at a time when victory looked far from a certainty.
It was Jayawardene’s brisk knock which set the tone for Punjab’s chase.
Jayawardene opened his account with back-to-back fours off Ryan McLaren, a treatment he meted out to Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga before Malinga removed the right-hander.
Barath and Sangakkara, however, kept going. Barath hit Harbhajan Singh over long on ropes for a six before Duminy trapped him leg before and Yuvraj too left when his team needed him most.
Sangakkara, however, batted with characteristic nonchalance, helping himself to the occasional boundaries that kept coming.
Sangakkara hit Duminy over his head for a six and then hit Zaheer for a boundary to complete his half-century before Malinga removed him in the 19th over.
The match was heading for a close finish but Irfan Pathan (15 not out) maintained his calm to complete the formality with four balls to spare.
Earlier, Piyush Chawla and Irfan Pathan shared six wickets between them as a lowly Kings XI Punjab restricted formidable Mumbai Indians to a modest 154 for nine.
Opting to bat first, the Mumbai outfit showed rare batting frailty and lost wickets at regular intervals before useful cameos from JP Duminy (35), Ambati Rayudu (33) and skipper Sachin Tendulkar (29) guided them to a modest total.
Pathan removed Shikhar Dhawan (2) with his first delivery to rattle Mumbai but the 44-run stand between Tendulkar and Rayudu, who was the more aggressive of the duo, helped them tide over the early crisis.
Rayudu was harsh on Brett Lee and Pathan, hitting the left-arm seamer for three boundaries in the sixth over before Chawla castled him in the next.
In his next over, Chawla removed the dangerous Saurabh Tiwari (4) and he maintained the trend in his third over as well, castling Tendulkar with a straight delivery.
Pathan then chipped in to cut short R Sathish’s (20) stay and also removed Kieron Pollard (18) before the towering all-rounder could get dangerous.
Even though wickets kept tumbling at one end, Duminy in his IPL 3 debut played sensible cricket, staying put at one end.
The South African left-hander stepped across and flicked Brett Lee for a breathtaking six, having hit Ramesh Powar earlier in his innings.
The Mumbai Indians made a mess of the final over, losing three wickets, including that of Duminy who was run out in the final delivery, and managing just four runs.