Kings XI Punjab clinch a thriller

May 21st, 2008 - 11:27 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, May 21 (IANS) Kings XI Punjab clinched a thriller by beating hosts Mumbai Indians by just one run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here Wednesday. Set a challenging target of 190, Mumbai Indians seemed in control as long as captain Sachin Tendulkar (65) was at the crease, but losing partners at crucial junctures made the job tougher for him, and Mumbai Indians were all out for 188.

Put in to bat by Tendulkar, disciplined innings from the prolific Shaun Marsh (81) and Luke Pomersbach (79) saw them stitch together a partnership of 133 runs for the second wicket and help Kings XI score 189 for the loss of four wickets.

Mumbai Indians’ fast bowler Shaun Pollock, continuing his great bowling form, struck with his third delivery to send James Hopes back for a duck. Pitching the ball outside the off stump and getting some late swing, Pollock had Hopes groping and the outside edge landed easy in Pinal Shah’s gloves.

Kings XI Punjab would have been reeling from a Pollock double blow had Uthappa not dropped Marsh in the third over, a relatively simple catch which was made to look difficult by the fielder, who reacted a bit late.

Chasing 189 was always going to be a tough task, and the run chase was being orchestrated brilliantly by Tendulkar. But it went horribly wrong in the space of two overs despite some lusty hits from Siddharth Chitnis in the penultimate over. But Kings XI pacer Vikram Raj Vir Singh kept his nerves while bowling the last over to see his team more or less through to the semis.

The Mumbai Indians needed just one run off the last ball to split points, but an acrobatic run out by Kings XI skipper Yuvraj Singh saw Mumbai Indians losing out to Kings XI by just one run.

The Mumbai Indians were on course while chasing, but after Tendulkar was run out sharply by Irfan Pathan, lack of application from Shaun Pollock and Robin Uthappa saw the scales tilt firmly in the favour of Kings XI. And when the push came to a shove, the pressure told on the tail-enders and three run outs spelt doom for the hosts.

Though failing with the bat, Yuvraj rallied his players brilliantly on the field, leading from the front. When the bowling seemed ineffective, he brought himself on and grabbed the two crucial wickets of Pollock and Uthappa. Brilliant as usual while fielding, he was responsible for two run-outs, the last one a la Jonty Rhodes, sealing victory for his team with just a run to spare.

The win propelled Kings XI Punjab into second place with 16 points from 11 matches, while Mumbai Indians retain their fourth spot with 12 points.

Mumbai Indians began their run chase in brilliant fashion, Jayasuriya blazing away to 20 from 12 deliveries with a four and two huge sixes before he was caught leg before, duped by a slower one from Sreesnath.

The promoted Dwayne Smith, carried on from where the Sri Lankan had left and had reached 20 from 16 deliveries when he got himself run out backing up too much on Chawla’s delivery to be run out by Yuvraj. There was still no need for alarm as Tendulkar was settling into smooth rhythm, finding the gaps nicely, but his teammates seemed to be in a big hurry to get the match over and done with.

Earlier, some strange decisions from Tendulkar that saw him ignore the services of Jayasuriya when Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach were milking the other bowlers, and toss the ball to Ashish Nehra for the last over while Pollock still had one left helped Kings XI Punjab reach their total of 189 for four.

Nehra began the last over with two wides and Pomersbach then hit him for a four, a six and a four, the 18 runs, in the final analysis probably the difference between victory and defeat.

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