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The Kings XI Punjab joined in the hunt for play-off spots in this season's IPL with a convincing 25 run victory over the Deccan Chargers, who just can't seem to get past the jinx of Hyderabad. The Chargers played their first game of the season at Uppal today, and were on the receiving end of a classy innings of 75 from young Mandeep Singh which helped the visiting Punjab side post a competitive 170/5 on the board. Deccan lost their way midway through their chase as a rare David Hussey over yielded two wickets, and the hosts never really recovered, slumping to 145/8 in their 20 overs. The win takes Punjab to 5th place in the IPL points table, and with a return leg against Deccan to follow in Mohali, they will believe they can muster up the points necessary to be genuine contenders this season.
Hyderabad welcomed the Deccan Chargers for the first time in IPL season 5 as the favourites for the wooden spoon took on the Kings XI Punjab, who were chasing a top four spot. The flip of the coin went Kumar Sangakkara's way and the Deccan Chargers opted to field. David Hussey wasn't unhappy, sharing that he would have liked to have batted anyway.
There were a few changes for both sides with Juan "Rusty" Theron taking the place of his injured compatriot Dale Steyn in the Deccan line-up, while Abhisek Jhunjhunwala was also brought back into the side. Young Akshat Reddy was also given a game as Deccan continued their search for the perfect combination. Punjab made some changes too with former Indian offspinner Romesh Pawar and South African youngster David Miller getting a game, while Siddharth Chitnis was also given a chance to impress.
Mandeep Singh gave Punjab another lightning quick start taking Veer Pratap Singh for 18 in his opening over. Deccan's bowling choices were interesting to say the least as they snuck in two overs of part-time off-spin from Abhishek Jhunjhunwala before Shikhar Dhawan did even better conceding just 4 runs from his opening over. The specialist seamers didn't quite have the same kind of luck with Shaun Marsh getting after Juan Theron in his second over, hitting him to the fence twice as Punjab ended the powerplay at a competitive 51/0.
The wickets of Marsh (22) and Nitin Saini (2) in consecutive overs brought Deccan back into the contest. The former was bowled off his pads by Dhawan, while the latter was a little unfortunate to be given out leg before with Ashish Reddy's delivery appearing to be heading down the legside.
Sixes on consecutive deliveries from Mandeep Singh and Punjab skipper David Hussey restored the balance as Punjab posted an impressive 86/2 a the half-way stage of their innings.
VP Singh came back well to remove David Hussey for 16 in the 12th over, but Mandeep Singh continued to play some exceptional cricket to propel Kings XI past a hundred.
Mandeep's terrific innings was brought to an end for 75 as he failed to connect with an attempted slog off Ashish Reddy. In the very next over Azhar Mahmood was run out for 14 as the Kings XI innings threatened to lose its way.
David Miller ensured that the good work done by the men at top of the order was not wasted as he made a quickfire 28 from 18-balls to push Kings XI Punjab to an excellent 170/5 from 20 overs.
Deccan suffered an early setback in their chase, losing the in-form Shikhar Dhawan for just 8 in the second over. Praveen Kumar pitched the ball up to the left-hander, and like most of his deliveries, it swung just enough to bring the lone slip in to play. Parthiv Patel was bumped up to no.3, and made a quickfire 17 before Parvinder Awana responded being hit for six by disturbing Parthiv's furniture on the very next ball. Daniel Harris and Cameron White stabilized the innings with the former benefitting from a spilt catch from Piyush Chawla as Deccan reached 68/2 at the end of 9 overs.
Punjab skipper David Hussey, who has been rather reluctant to bowl himself all season, spun the match his side's way in a magical 11th over which saw him remove both set batsmen. Daniel Harris was caught at backward point for 30 while White's decision to take on the bowler with a wicket already having fallen in the over will no doubt come under scrutiny. The Deccan vice-captain failed to clear midwicket, and fell for 8. Praveen Kumar then made it a third wicket in 8 balls for Punjab as he snapped up the big fish Kumar Sangakkara for 4 to leave Deccan tottering at 74/5.
Akshat Reddy and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala added 43 runs for the 6th wicket to give the Deccan scorecard some semblance of respectability before the former fell for 24, stumped off Chawla. Jhunjhunwala was run out in the next over sealing the result for all practical purposes with the tailenders left with 50 to win off 16 balls.
Deccan did well to bat out their 20 overs, finishing 25 runs shy of Punjab's score to register yet another defeat on the cursed wicket in Hyderabad. It was a rare blow out for Deccan, who despite losing so many games this season, have been largely competitive in most of them.
There is no respite for the Deccan Chargers as they return to action in a couple of days, taking on top spot chasing Delhi Daredevils on Thursday, right here in Hyderabad. The Kings XI Punjab meanwhile are now very much in the battle for a top 4 spot, but sadly for them they are not in action till the weekend with the reverse leg of tonight's fixture taking place in Mohali on Sunday night.
Deccan Chargers: P Patel (wk), S Dhawan, K Sangakkara (c), C White, Akshat Reddy, A Jhunjhunwala, Ashish Reddy, A Mishra, J Theron, Veer Pratap Singh
Kings XI Punjab: N Saini (wk), M Singh, S Marsh, DJ Hussey (c), D Miller, A Mahmood, S Chitnis, P Chawla, R Pawar, P Kumar, P Awana.
Kings XI Punjab 170/5 (20 overs, 8.5rpo)
Mandeep Singh 75 (48) Ashish Reddy 2-39
D Miller 28* (18) S Dhawan 1-8
Deccan Chargers 145/8 (20 overs, 7.25rpo)
D Harris 30 (29) D Hussey 2-2
Akshat Reddy 24 (13) P Kumar 2-15
Punjab win by 25 runs
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