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Friday, Dec 13th

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It was a tale of 4 fifties, with Adam Gilchrist and Azhar Mahmood outscoring Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli 146 to 134, and probably more crucially taking 95 balls viz-a-viz the 96 from their opposition to steer the Kings XI Punjab to an unexpected win at Bangalore, and earn them a lifeline in IPL season 6. The Royal Challengers Bangalore didn't score enough runs in the first half of their innings once again, and their bowling continued to be below par, and they paid heavily for it, losing a key game as far as their play-off hopes are concerned.

RCB played host to the Kings XI Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday afternoon, with both sides in desperate need of a win. RCB were on the cusp of advancing to the play-offs of IPL 2013, while their opponents were mathematically alive but realistically living on borrowed time.

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The Sunrisers Hyderabad gave their hopes of making the IPL 2013 play-offs a major boost, whilst at the same time ending any chance the Kings XI Punjab might have haboured of making it to the knock-out rounds with a 30 run thrashing of their hosts on a wet day in Mohali.

In a match that was a must-win situation for both the teams, Kings XI Punjab captain Adam Gilchrist won the toss and elected to field first on what promised to be a damp pitch after rain falling right through the day. For the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Cameron White marked his return as the captain replacing Kumar Sangakkara and Biplab Samantray made his way back to the team as Aashish Reddy had broken his finger. For KXIP, the 19-year old, Sandeep Sharma made his debut replacing Manpreet Gony, also Luke Pomersbach and Harmeet Singh were brought back for David Hussey and Bipul Sharma.

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The Rajasthan Royals picked up just their second away win of the IPL this season, but with it catapulted themselves back into second place, giving them every chance of making the play-offs this year. Having put their hosts Kings XI Punjab into bat in Mohali, the Royals restricted them to just 145-6 in their 20 overs, bowling exceptionally well at the death. The Royals chased down the target with relative ease thanks to yet another half-century from Ajinkya Rahane, who made 59, with crucial contributions also coming from Shane Watson and Sanju Samson.

Adam Gilchrist returned for the toss for KXIP, but it was his counterpart Rahul Dravid who won it and decided to bowl first on a pitch that looked a little dry. KXIP brought Bipul Sharma alongwith their captain in place of Luke Pomersbach and Gurkeerat Singh. The Royals made four changes bringing back Dishant Yagnik, S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Kevon Cooper for Pravin Tambe, Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny and Shaun Tait. Amongst the men sitting out, the unfortunate Stuart Binny had picked up a niggle during his bowling spell in the last game.

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An exceptional unbeaten century from South African import David Miller powered the Kings XI Punjab to an unlikely 6 wicket win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali. Miller smashed an incredible 101 from just 38 balls to lead his side to an unexpected 6 wicket win with 2 full overs to spare.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore were put into bat, and won the first 30 overs of this contest, having posted a massive 190-3 on the back of half-centuries from their openers, Chris Gayle (61) and the returning Cheteshwar Pujara (51).

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The Chennai Super Kings rode on Suresh Raina's magnificent century to strengthen their hold on the no.1 spot in the IPL standings by edging out a battling Kings XI Punjab side by 15 runs. The Chepauk Stadium witnessed a variety of dance moves from Dwayne Bravo as the Caribbean King took 3 wickets in the last over of the match to overshadow a 93 run stand from 52 deliveries between Shaun Marsh and David Miller, that had threatened to cause one of the most remarkable upsets in IPL history.

MS Dhoni, leading the same side from the last game, won the toss and promptly elected to bat first. Punjab made a couple of changes bringing in Luke Pomersbach in place of Azhar Mahmood and all rounder Rajagopalachari Sathish for Manan Vohra.

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Over the course of IPL 2013, there have been several versions of Mumbai Indians, who have turned up on the field. Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians, lacking the clinical approach they displayed in the previous game, let Kings XI off the hook after a resplendent batting performance . Rohit led from the front with a remarkable innings at a break-neck speed as Mumbai piled up a massive 174-3. The spirited Punjab side made a fist of the challenge keeping the chase alive till the very last ball before eventually falling short by 4 runs. Mumbai's razor-sharp fielding, in sharp contrast to Punjab's sloppiness proved the difference in a tight affair.

The last time Adam Gilchrist strode out for the toss against Kolkata, he said he was tantalizingly close to stepping aside because of his repeated failures. Believe it or not, Gilly has only tallied 94 in as many as 8 games. Tonight he sat out to pave way for Shaun Marsh with David Hussey leading the side in his conspicuous absence.

Marsh did not create any impact though, falling to Pragyan Ojha with Pollard plucking out a one-handed catch, his second of the night. At 60-3, KXIP was looking up to David Hussey to revive the chase. Hussey (still smarting from the game-changing final over) briefly threatened before he holed out in the deep. The spin twins- Bhajji (3-14) and Ojha (2-22) combined well to hike the required rate.

Refusing to yield, David Miller(56) and Praveen Kumar(24) landed some meaty blows but it ended in vain.

Kumar's penultimate ball six left Punjab needing 5 off the last delivery. Buckling under pressure, PK sliced a juicy full toss right down the throat of Sachin at point. The story would have been even closer had umpire Kulkarni not got away unscathed with a waist high no-ball the same crucial over.

There is nothing like a packed stadium in India, cheering one of its heroes horse and it peaks when the player is Sachin Tendulkar and the venue is Mumbai. Sachin gave the crowd good reason to clear their collective throats, hitting a couple of vintage drives past cover earlier in the day. Unfortunately, the master blaster flattered only to deceive, inside-edging a Praveen Kumar delivery back onto the stumps. Dinesh Karthik's knock was then cut short by Manpreet Gony's extra pace and bounce.

Settling on a probing line and length, Kings XI's four pronged pace attack, spear-headed by the wily Praveen Kumar, pushed Dwayne Smith into a tight corner. In a crucial mid passage of play though, Punjab's fielding froze, frittering away the early advantage- Vohra spilled Smith, Chawla let off a four at deep cover, Gurkeerat Singh missed a stumping to gift Kieron Pollard a life. Benefiting from the dropped catch, Dwayne Smith(33) proceeded to raise his strike rate to 103.

Indeed,the presents were overflowing for Mumbai. Pollard received another lucky respite when he was bowled off a Gony no-ball in the ante-penultimate over. Gony, in particular, was picked out for special treatment by Rohit Sharma.

Blending finesse with power, Mumbai's new captain ran amok in the death overs as the Wankhede stadium went baila again. The Trinidadian , meanwhile,was happy to play the pick-up truck for 'Rolls Royce Rohit'.

Rohit Sharma's 39-ball unbeaten 79, including 26 off a debatable last over from David Hussey propelled Mumbai to an imposing total that seemed a pipe-dream at the dawn of the innings. His innings was a montage of magnificent shots ranging from the front foot, elbow cover drive to the precise pull to the lethal loft.

The hi-flying Mumbai Indians will be in action against Hyderabad on Wednesday whist Kings XI will confront their neighbors, the mighty Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk the next day.

Teams:

MI: D Smith, S Tendulkar, D Karthik(wk), R Sharma, A Rayudu, K Pollard, H Singh, D Kulkarni, M Johnson, L Malinga, P Ojha

KXIP: S Marsh, M Singh, M Vohra, D Hussey(c), D Miller, G Singh(wk), A Mahmood,  P Chawla,  M Gony, P Kumar, P Awana

Mini Scorecard:

MI 174-3 (20 overs, 8.7 rpo)

R Sharma 79*(39) P Kumar 1-24

D Smith 33(32) P Chwala 1-24

KXIP: 170 all out (20 overs, 8.5 rpo)

D Miller 56(34) H Singh 3-14

D Hussey 34(18) P Ojha 2-22

Mumbai win by 4 runs

 

 

The Kolkata Knight Riders finally ended their 3 game losing streak and got their season back on track with a crucial 6 wicket win against the Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens on Friday night. The Kings XI posted an under par 149-6 on the board with everyone in their top order making starts, but no one going on to make a telling contribution. Jacques Kallis was outstanding with the ball, taking 2-14 from his 4 overs.

The Kings XI Punjab made a fist of it at the start, landing two crucial early blows in the run chase, but a welcome return to form for Manvinder Bisla (51), and some excellent and highly contrasting contributions from Jacques Kallis and Eoin Morgan, saw KKR over the line with nearly 2 overs to spare.

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