KXIP T2The last-over finishes in Mohali’s two Champions League matches on Saturday provided edge of the seat thrills to the spectators. The first match between Dolphins and Perth Scorchers hung in balance until two deliveries were left in the match and 12 runs were needed. Mitchell Marsh stunned Dolphins by clouting two sixes of successive balls to win the match for Scorchers. In the second match, KXIP bowlers couldn’t contain the free-flowing batting style of Tridents and needed to chase a stiff 175-run target. After an early flourish from Sehwag and Vohra, the KXIP batting floundered in the middle order and 6 wickets fell for 131. With 44 required in 21 balls, KXIP found two guys; David Miller and Akshar Patel, both them were equal to the task. Patel notched up 23 off 9 balls before Miller finished up everything by sending the 4th ball of the 20th over out of the ground.

In the first match, Dolphins batted first but had an inauspicious start, losing three wickets for 12 runs in the second over of the innings. Morne van Wyk played out the first two balls from Joel Paris and hammered the third through the covers for four. But that was as far as he would go because on the fourth delivery, Wyk played across a good length delivery to be clean bowled. Off the next delivery from Paris, the new batsman Cody Chetty emulated his skipper to the hilt as swung across the line of another good length in-swinger that met only the timber behind the batsman. Two wickets off successive balls of the opening over was a big blow. New man Keshav Maharaj played out the last ball and denied the hat-trick to Paris. The other opener Cameron Delport chose attack to counter the bowlers as he took 2 from Jason Behrendorff’’s first ball and sent the next ball over the square leg boundary. In trying something similar off the third ball, Delport got an outside edge to be caught by the keeper. Khaya Zondo joined Maharaj now and the two batsmen batted cautiously to add 33 for the fourth wicket. Maharaj fell holing out to Behrendorff for an easy catch at third man in the sixth over. New man Daryn Smit and Zondo added 30 runs for fifth wicket but Smit left in 11th over to make it 75/5 for the Dolphins. However, Zondo played confidently and despite being deserted by his partners, remained not out for 69 off 50 balls, as Dolphins posted 164 runs in 20 overs.

Though 165 was not a great target for Perth Scorchers, they lost Adam Voges in the 4th over. But Craig Simmons and Sam Whiteman batted sensibly to add 55 for the second wicket. Fall of Simmons’ wicket in the 10th over did not affect Scorchers as Whiteman and Mitchell Marsh carried the score to 118 in the 16h over, at which point Whiteman fell in trying to clear the long-on boundary against Alexander. Now, Dolphins required 43 in about 4 overs. With Marsh out there, Scorchers had the confidence but the Dolphins were clearly back in the match. In the next 15 balls, Scorchers turned the game on its head. Marsh and Agar added an invaluable 30 runs and as things looked rosy for Scorchers, Agar got out in the 20th over. Now 15 runs were required off the remaining 4 balls. New batsman Ashton Turner took 2 off the third ball and a single off the fourth to leave Mitchell Marsh with the arduous task of hitting 2 sixes off the last two balls. Against such heavy odds, Marsh didn’t surrender as he ran down the track to lift Robbie Frylinck’s fifth ball out of the ground and repeated the stroke off the last delivery to finish the game.

In the day/night game that followed the thrilling finish earlier, KXIP took to field against Barbados Tridents after winning the toss. But the decision didn’t seem to pay as Tridents opened well to race away to 54 in 5 overs. Dilshan Munaweera and William Perkins scored freely against KXIP bowlers. Even after both openers fell in the same sixth over, Tridents had the back up from Raymon Reifer and Jonathan Carter. After some consolidation, the score had reached 106. Reifer continued in the company of other batsmen and notched up an unbeaten 60 off 42 balls with 3 fours and 4 sixes. The Tridents reached 174 in 20 overs. It looked like a challenging score under the circumstances.

Chasing 175, KXIP made a good beginning. When opener Manan Vohra got out in the fourth over, KXIP had already notched up 41 with Sehwag in full bloom. They maintained the tempo even as Wriddhiman Saha fell in the seventh over and Glenn Maxwell in the 10th. Since KXIP had crossed the halfway victory mark by then, they looked like finishing as winners. But suddenly things soured for them. Sehwag fell at 103, Bailey at 127 and Perera at 131. With 25 balls remaining to score 44 runs, KXIP had Akshar Patel in the company of David Miller on the crease. While Miller had the batting credentials, no one would put his money on Patel. But the Gujarati man had his own mind as he turned the match around in the 19th over from Ravi Rampaul by taking 19 runs out of the required 25. In the last over, with 6 required for victory Miller finished with a 6 off the fourth delivery for Punjab’s second consecutive win in the Champions League.