When Kings XI Punjab won their first three matches of IPL 2014, everyone attributed their wins to the immense fire-power of Glenn Maxwell. The big-hitting Australian truly stood above the pack and single handedly made the difference. Beginning with the patient chase that KXIP launched in the face of 206-run target set by CSK in their first game on April 18 at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Maxwell made the target look ordinary. In the next two matches as well, Maxwell’s exploits benefitted KXIP. However, Maxwell could not perform in the 4th game against KKR, when Punjab batted first and could only reach 132/9 in 20 overs. But KXIP still won that match much to the chagrin of KXIP’s detractors, who said the Mohali side didn’t have the bowling to make the difference, if their batsmen fail. In yesterday’s match KXIP bowled first and their bowlers choked the RCB batsmen to the extent that the side struggled to reach a meager 124 in the allotted 20 overs. When KXIP came on to chase, it was expected that they would overhaul the target without much trouble. But Maxwell failed again and only Sehwag played yesterday and watched his partners fall on the other end. But in the end Captain George Bailey, David Miller and Rishi Dhawan combined to ensure that KXIP won their 5th match in a row.
KXIP had earlier won the toss and taken to field. The RCB’s opening pair of Chris Gayle and Parthiv Patel is a study in contrast, akin to a giant walking alongside a dwarf. The massive 6’ 2” 98 kilogram frame of Gayle is too out-sized for 5’3” tall and 62 Kilogram Patel but no one minds. We have seen Gavaskar and Tendulkar the world-famous Indian batsmen, who measured same as Patel in weight and height. In the first over bowled by Maxwell, it looked as if RCB had their sight on a big score as Chris Gayle hit 2 fours and 2 sixes to make it 20/0. Patel had not faced a single ball until then. Sandeep Sharma came to bowl the second over in which he claimed two wickets after conceding a single to Parthiv on the first ball. The adventurous Gayle was clean bowled and one-drop batsman banged a four on the third ball, before being trapped leg-before wicket on the fourth delivery. Yogesh Takawale, the top-scorer against KKR joined Patel after Kohli’s wicket but he was cautious from the start of the 3rd over, bowled by the Ashes hero, Mitchell Johnson. He allowed a first-ball single to Patel and on the last ball, he elicited an edge from Takawale to make it 26/3 for RCB. From this point onwards, the going got tougher for RCB as the KXIP bowlers took command. The fourth over saw the fall of Patel, who shaped for a drive and got an edge for the keeper. For the next 5 overs, Yuvraj and de Villiers batted sensibly but slowly and the score reached 66/4 after 9 overs. But de Villiers departed to an avoidable heave in the 10th over after scoring 17 runs. Luckily for RCB, Yuvraj carried on with Albie Morkel but it was clear that the team was headed to a low total in the end. First Morkel and then Yuvraj Singh fell to rank poor shots and in 20 overs RCB could only reach 124/8.
The target of 125 is not difficult in T20 games and when KXIP openers came out to begin the chase, they wouldn’t have doubted their ability to reach the victory mark. Pujara and Sehwag began well and put on 22 before Pujara fell for a labored 10 runs off 17 balls, when he edged Dinda’s first ball of the 5th over to the keeper. Wriddhiman Saha came next and lasted a while before he fell to a spectacular catch by Mitchell Starc, who ran a long way from his position at fine-leg and caught the ball close to the ropes. Maxwell, who joined Sehwag also fell to a brilliant catch by Starc in the deep. Sehwag and Miller continued until the end of 12th over and took KXIP score to 84/3 with only 41 required for victory off 48 balls. In the 13th over, however, Yuzvendra Chahal struck twice to claim the wickets of both Miller and Sehwag in identical fashion. Skipper Bailey had Rishi Dhawan for company and the two of them took KXIP for their 5th straight victory.
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