Apr 212013

Well there is some amount of jostling that’s happening to get to that No.4 position that’s open and up for grabs in this IPL. And each match is throwing up a candidature towards filling that spot. And two teams that were really at loggerheads to get an upper hand on each other- KXIP and PWI put up a valiant performance at Mohali tonight. Having been asked to bat first by Punjab, PWI put up their best performance till date in the competition and scored a huge 185 in their 20  overs. In reply, KXIP overcame a stutterd start and showed great character by chasing down the score with a  ball to spare.

Pune Warriors India have been flip flopping a lot with their captain in this tournament so far with as many as 3 captains changed in the last few matches. Today, the regular captain Angelo Matthews was dropped and “in form” batsman Aaron Finch was made the captain. Finch did step up to the plate and grabbed this opportunity with both his hands as he along with Robin Uthappa gave Pune Warriors a blazing start. After getting a life initially when Gilchrist missed an easy catch of his, Finch made the most of it and scored 64 runs in 42 balls and received good support from Uthappa who scored 37 from 33 balls before being OUT caught behind off Awana’s bowling.

Yuvraj showed glimpses of brilliance and played a good hand, extending the score line with Finch. When Gony got the wicket of Finch, PWI were 124/2 after 15 overs scoring at over 8rpo. But then, KXIP were taken by surprise by Luke Wright’s late on slaught who scored 6 boundaries of the first 6 balls that he faced and went on to score a quickfire 34 of 10 balls, a cameo, that bolstered Pune’s scoring rate and helped them post a formidable 185.

186 was never going to be easy, especially with Gilchrist’s lack of form. Even the local Indian batsmen of KXIP were not getting runs and that was a worrisome factor for the team. But cometh the moment and cometh the time, the Phoenix rises from the dust and this time KXIP showed its class and rhyme. Gilchrist and Azhar Mahmood went early and KXIP slumped to 5/2. Hard hitting Punjabi batsman Vohra went hard at the PWI bowlers in his quest to boost the scoring rate of KXIP. On the other end Mandeep Singh was giving him good company. As Vohra got a few boundaries off his bat and was looking good for many more, he perished while playing a cross batted shot off Yuvraj Singh. After 7 overs KXIP were 58/3, scoring at a good rate but losing regular wickets.

Needing 128 from 11 overs,what unfolded was poetry in motion. It was an exhibition of muscles of iron and nerves of steel. It was sheer magic watching David Miller go ballistic and Mandeep support him with such gusto.Mandeep scored a magical unbeaten  77 from 58 balls. He hit some beautiful shots, cleverly placed the ball in the gaps and made sure that he rotated the strike and gave David Miller the most of the strike. Miller lived upto his hard hitting reputation and scored at a strike rate of almost 200%. With 5 fours and 5 sixes,he scored an unbeaten 80 from 41 balls and led KXIP to an inconceivable victory that places them now at No.5 position in the points table.

The sheer intensity of the victory will boost the confidence of Punjab but it will also dent the spirits of Pune Warriors India. They are languishing at No8 in the table and will have to recover well in their bowling and fielding departments to make a come back in the competition. It was a great day for batsmen in the IPL with so many memorable knocks and a lot of runs scored off the willows.


MoM- David Miller (Kings XI Punjab)


KXIP-186/3 (Miller-80* and Madeep-77*; Bhuvanesh 1/31) beat PWI-185/4 (Finch-64 and Wright-34; Azhar Mahmood 2/42)

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