Kings XI race away to victory with eight wickets and 46 balls to spare
Winning the toss remained the only positive moment for captain Angelo Matthews on an embarrassing day for Pune Warriors India, which stuttered to 99 in 20 overs.
Having blown away the home advantage, PWI watched helplessly as Kings XI Punjab raced away to 100 for two, for an eight wicket with 46 balls to spare here in its opening match of this edition of IPL.
Adam Gilchrist cracked 15 off 10 balls and passed the baton to youngsters Mandeep Singh (31 off 26 balls) and Manan Vohra (43 not out off 28) as the chase was polished off in 12.2 overs.
The latter walked away with ‘man of the match’ honour on his IPL debut and enhanced the value of local talent in lifting the team’s fortunes.
Gurkeerat Singh had raised the bar in fielding for Punjab with an airborne catch on the ropes.
The Aussie opener and KXIP captain launched into action from the start, as he leaned into a sweetly-timed drive past mid-off, stepped out for an adventurous slog over mid-off and revealing a delicate side to his batting with a scooped six over square leg.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar conceded 14 in the first over and the nightmare had begun.
Pune went into the game without Yuvraj Singh, ruled out due to a strained back, according to team sources. T. Suman, his replacement, mistimed an ambitious shot after opener Manish Pandey had become the first of many casualties of reckless intent at the crease from the home team.
Gilchrist brought in leg-spinner Chawla in the ninth over. The gamble worked as Robin Uthappa danced down the track for a slash. Chawla read the signal early enough to deceive the opener with a flatter delivery snaking into the stump for a classic spinner’s wicket. The home team slipped to 38 for five in 10 overs when captain Matthews chased an Awana outswinger into Gilchrist’s gloves.
Punjab kept strokemakers Ross Taylor and Abhshek Nayar on a leash with a mix of seam and spin. Taylor stepped inside the line and swung to fine leg, the ball appeared to be clearing the ropes when Gurkeerat pulled off a stunner, leaping in the air and landing smoothly with ball in hand.
KXIP’s victory was backed by fielding highs to support a disciplined bowling effort. PWI spilled catches and crumbled to its second consecutive defeat.
Pune Warriors India: Robin Uthappa b Chawla 19 (23b, 2x4), Manish Pandey b Praveen 0 (4b), T. Suman c Praveen b Mahmood 6 (14b, 1x4), Marlon Samuels (run out) 3 (9b), Ross Taylor c Gurkeerat b Praveen 15 (19b, 1x4), Angelo Matthews c Gilchrist b Awana 4 (4b, 1x4), Abhishek Nayar (not out) 25 (26b, 3x4), Mitchell Marsh b Harris 15 (8b, 1x4, 1x6), Bhuvneshwar Kumar b Mahmood 8 (12b, 1x4), Rahul Sharma (run out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-2, w-1): 3. Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 99.
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Pandey), 2-21 (Suman), 3-29 (Samuels), 4-33 (Uthappa), 5-38 (Mathews), 6-53 (Taylor), 7-78 (Marsh), 8-93 (Bhuvneshwar), 9-99 (Sharma).
KXIP bowling: Praveen 4-0-31-2, Harris 4-0-12-1, Mahmood 4-0-19-2, Awana 4-0-16-1, Chawla 4-0-19-1.
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist c Samuels b Mathews 15 (10b, 2x4, 1x6), Mandeep Singh b Sharma 31 (26b, 4x4), Manan Vohra (not out) 43 (28b, 7x4), David Hussey (not out) 8 (11b, 1x4); Extras (nb-1, w-2): 3. Total (for two wickets, in 12.2 overs): 100.
Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Gilchrist), 2-79 (Mandeep).
PWI bowling: Bhuvneshwar 2-0-16-0, Dinda 2-0-28-0, Mathews 2-0-12-1, Marsh 3.2-0-24-0, Sharma 3-0-20-1.
Man of match: Manan Vohra.