Mahela guides Kings XI to a thrilling win over Knight Riders (Lead)

May 3rd, 2009 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Kumar Sangakkara Port Elizabeth, May 3 (IANS) A composed unbeaten 52 from Mahela Jayawardene helped Kings XI Punjab pull off a last-ball thriller against troubled Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Sunday.
Chasing 154, Kings XI scampered home to win off the last ball with six wickets in hand at the St. George’s Park. Irfan Pathan hit a four off the last ball of Ajit Agarkar to take his team to the second spot on the points table. Pathan (19 not out) and Jayawardene shared an 45-run stand while Simon Katich scored a breezy 34.

For Knight Riders, Brad Hodge’s (70 not out) second half-century was of no avail as his team crashed to their sixth overall and fourth consecutive loss in the league after having put a challenging 153 for three in 20 overs.

It was poor fielding that let the Knight Riders down. The butter fingered Knight Riders’ fielders let down four easy chances that cost them the match.

After opting to bat, Knight Riders made a cautious start. Skipper Brendon McCullum (19), looking to end his poor run, failed to find the gaps while Chris Gayle (17), playing his last match in the league fell in the fifth over attempting an atrocious shot off Yusuf Adbulla.

McCullum took his own sweet time and took frustrating 31 ball for his 19 innings and mistimed a wide delivery off Piyush Chawla straight to Vikramjeet Malik.

Hodge and Sourav Ganguly (22) then stitched a 51-run stand for the third wicket to raise Knight Riders’ hopes. Ganguly and Hodge rotated the strike cleverly while dispatching the loose balls to the boundary every now and then.

Hodge, who hit one six and ten fours in his 43-ball innings, pulled Kings XI skipper Yuvraj Singh for two consecutive fours and then spanked Abdulla straight down the ground for a six. Ganguly slogged a huge six off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla but fell in his next attempt in the same as wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara took a skier safely.

Hodge and More van Wyk (18 not out) hit Pathan for 21 runs in the last over to bring some cheers in the Knight Riders camp.

Knight Riders’ bowlers started well as Ishant Sharma dismissed Sangakkara in the first over. But Sunny Sohal (25) and Katich kept Kings XI in the hunt with their 43-run partnership. Sohal was dropped thrice during his 17-ball stay while Katich must thank Gayle for giving him a life.

While wickets kept falling at the other end, Jayawardene maintained kept his head cool and guided the team to its fourth win in the league.

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