This IPL season, Kings Eleven Punjab look an entirely different side. They have the big stars but their presence is not felt. In the last edition, the batting firepower had lifted them sky-high but despite the presence of all the old faces, KXIP have failed to make their mark. Except a victory against Mumbai Indians in IPL’s 7th match and a great game against Rajasthan Royals that was decided in one-over eliminator, KXIP have left their fans’ ambitions generally unfulfilled. On Monday on their home turf, KXIP had a chance after restricting Sunrisers Hyderabad to just 150 but they allowed SRH to defend that total by another of their batting debacles. For the second consecutive match, Glenn Maxwell was not included and KXIP also left out Virender Sehwag. When KXIP launched the 151-run chase, six of their batsmen fell for a cumulative score of 17 with new man Manan Vohra being the top scorer at 5. Of the remaining 5, only Wriddhiman Saha could reach 42 and his attempt of sparking a revival was not supported by any other KXIP batsmen. Captain Bailey was the next highest scorer with 22 in the unsuccessful victory chase.
George Bailey asked Sunrisers Hyderabad to bat first after he won the toss and got Shikhar Dhawan removed in the second over in a typically strange dismissal. Mitchell Johnson pitched a ball on the off-side and the edge from Dhawan’s bat sruck his shoulder and the helmet before landing in Murali Vijay’s hands. But David Warner carried on with Hanuma Vihari. Though Vihari was subdued, Warner raced away to be a major contributor in the 46-run second wicket stand. After Vihari left, Warner had an able company in Moises Henriques. Warner completed this IPL season’s fourth fifty in seven innings before falling for 58 scored off 41 balls with 10 fours and a six. After Warner’s exit, the rate of scoring suffered as Naman Ojha and Henriques could only add 45 in nearly 7 overs. In a late surge from Ashish Reddy, who dealt some mighty blows towards the end, SRH could reach 150, a score seemingly difficult to defend.
When KXIP came out to chase 151 required for victory, they faced the pace of Trent Boult and an excellent control from B Kumar and P Kumar. Runs stopped coming even as an in-swinger from Boult in the third over found the inside edge of Mana Vohra’s bat and crashed on his leg stump. In the next over from Bhuvi Kumar, Shaun Marsh went Manan Vohra’s way as the ball swung in again from the off-side and got the inside edge of Marsh’s bat and landed on his leg stump. It was clear that the SRH bowlers had the KXIP batsmen in a bind. Though Vijay and skipper Bailey stayed on the crease and scored runs, they never looked promising. In a brief period of counter attack, Bailey hit Praveen Kumar for three boundaries in one over but he fell in the 8th over in trying to clear mid-off against Henriques. By then, KXIP had slipped to 45 for 3, which became 53 for 4 as David Miller misjudged a call for two runs and Murali Vijay became a run-out victim. Miller too got out in the 13th over to make the score 72 for 5. The slide continued unabated. Though Wriddhiman Saha tried to revive the fledging innings, but when Boult came back for his next spell in the 18th over, he removed Saha and the dangerous Axar Patel. For the tail-enders, the Kumar duo of Bhuvi and Praveen were enough as KXIP fell 20 runs short of the target as they could only manage 130/5. For claimimg 3 wickets at the expense of just 19 runs, Trent Boult was adjudged as the Player-of-the-Match.
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