by Harshdip Singh
How much ever you hate the Aussies for their sledging and aggressiveness, one could never hate this one guy in their team, Adam Gilchrist-an integral part of the Australian team when they were on-song.
And then there is Azhar Mahmood in Gilly’s team; a UK citizen now, once a match-winner for Pakistan national team.
Punjab, led by Gilly, plays their first match in IPL – 6 against the Pune Warriors India at Pune’s home ground. Angelo Matthews wins the toss and wants to bat. There’s a big setback for the crowd when it is known that Yuvraj Singh is not fit for today’s match.
Pune suffers an early blow from Praveen Kumar when Manish Pandey goes for a duck. (A lot of ducks from openers this IPL.) Pandey has not been in the best of form either. But Pune has a good batting attack so it’s not much a worry them in spite an early blow. So Pune start a little recovery playing cautiously with 18-1 in 4 overs.
And then something happens in the field. Brilliant fielding and awesome catches makes it very difficult for the Pune Warriors. Wickets literally fall after every 5-6 runs. And in no time, Pune lose half of their side for 38 runs in 10 overs. Ross Taylor takes guard and tries repairing the damage already done. But wait! you will not see a better catch in the IPL than this. Amazing dive to stop a certain 6 and a brilliant catch sends Rossy back to the pavilion. So Pune down with 6 wickets with 50 odd runs on the board, in 13 overs.
The 7th and 8th batsmen for Pune are Abhishek Nayar and Mitchell Marsh- genuine batsmen, they are. This is supposed to be Pune’s strong batting line-up, but sadly which did not perform even to half of their capability.
Mitchell sends one to the stands of Praveen Kumar which makes it the first six of the innings. He was rotating it well until Ryan Harris comes back for his new spell and sends his stumps knocking over.
From here on, it looks like Pune can only be playing for a respectable total.Kings XI Punjab bowlers totally contain the batsmen of Pune. So with awesome fielding (except Praveen Kumar) and awesome bowling (except Praveen Kumar), Pune manage a score of just 99-9 in their 20 overs.
Let’s see how the Kings go about it next. Whether they try finishing it soon or do they just keep rotating the strike.
The very first ball from Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is drilled down to the straight boundary from the lovely Gilly. And then a boundary taking the aerial route from Gilly. And then a flick which stays in the air for hours before going to the stands. Wait, this is all in the first over!
The second over is bowled by Ashok Dinda. One thing to be said here is whatever state the team is in, you see this short fellow putting in everything in the game-running in hard and trying all his skills out. May be the Kings XI team is just too good for them today. So 21-0 in 2 overs chasing just 100 in 20 overs.
The skipper, Angelo Matthews brings himself on in the 3rd over itself. Gilly tries the same flick and hits it straight to the hands of Marlon Samuel at Deep Square Leg.
First breakthrough for the Warriors. Can they have even a slightest of a game from this ? With batting till No. 8 of the Kings XI, I say- NO MATCH.
With 21 runs coming of the 4th over and a flurry of boundaries, the uncapped players for Indian team in the Kings XI Punjab team take the score to 50-1 in just 4.3 overs, i.e. 27 balls. Remember, this is a 20 over match and Punjab is chasing 100. Guess with this type of batting if Punjab would have batted first, they would have reached the highest score of this IPL season yet.
56 scored by Punjab in the powerplay of 6 overs-the highest in this IPL so far! Amazing shots played by Manan Vohra.
Fun Fact: Vohra was said to be the best batsman in the Unmukht Chand’s side which won the U-19 WC last year. He got injured in a practice match for the World Cup and did not go to Australia. Greg Chappell commented saying Vohra not being in Australia is a big loss for India.
This gives one a very good feeling for India’s future in batting.
So, the Kings XI could not finish it in 10 overs. They were well in course to do so. 16 runs required in the last 10 overs for Punjab with 8 wickets in hand. Vohra still there, making it his day.
Kings XI finishes it off in 12.2 overs and wins the match with 8 wickets. Real professional effort with the ball by everyone and a superb display of shot play from Vohra.
The 12.3rd ball bowled from Mitchell Marsh, gets him the wicket of David Hussey but on checking, it appears to be a no-ball and finishes the match for a Punjab win. Very awkward winning run for the team who played so well through out the match. Cricket can be a very funny game.
Manan Vohra is the Man-of-the-Match for the awesome display of his cricketing skills.
So, the costliest team of the IPL loses two in two. We will have to wait and watch what is in store for them later.
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