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Rediff.com  » Sports » Punjab snatch last-ball win over Kolkata

Punjab snatch last-ball win over Kolkata

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: May 03, 2009 20:44 IST
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- Scorecard

Mahela Jayawardene ended his poor scoring run with a crucial half-century to lead Kings XI Punjab to a thrilling six-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League match in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Jayawardene was unbeaten on 52 from 41 deliveries, inclusive of seven boundaries, while Simon Katich scored a brisk 34 from 28 deliveries as the Punjab side escaped to victory off the final delivery of the match.

Nothing seems to work for Knight Riders, however much they try.

Batting first, they put up a competitive 153 for 3 in their 20 overs, thanks to a brisk 70 from Brad Hodge. The 34-year-old Australian single-handedly wriggled them out of a tight spot with some brilliant stroke-play in their last few overs, but, in the end, that was not enough to see them through. A disappointing show in the field that saw them spill four catches let them down.

Hodge hit 10 boundaries and a six in his 43-ball knock and was involved in an unbroken stand of 48 in four overs for the fourth wicket with Morne van Wyk.

This was Kolkata's sixth loss in eight games, while Punjab soared to second with eight points from seven games.

.Kolkata innings:

Electing to bat, captain Brendon McCullum was back to opening the innings after dropping down the order in the last match. Punjab sprang a surprise, opening the bowling with off-spinner Ramesh Powar.

Chris Gayle, playing his last match after the West Indies Cricket Board agreed to extend his stay, and partner McCullum chose to adopt a cautious start, and Kolkata put up just nine runs after three overs.

The first boundary of the innings came in the fourth over when Gayle whipped Pathan through square leg. The runs seemed to have liberated him a bit as he smashed consecutive boundaries off Abdulla to start the fifth over.

But Abdulla had his revenge two deliveries later when he had Gayle caught at mid-on attempting another big shot. The West Indies left-hander's stint in IPL 2 ended with another moderate knock as he made 17 off 18 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries. (23-1, 4.4)

Brad Hodge, who survived a run-out chance early, got into the thick of things immediately. At the other end, McCullum could not get going despite staying at the wicket for 10 overs.

Kolkata struggled to 52 for one in 10 overs at the halfway stage, with McCullum on 17 from 28 deliveries and Hodge unbeaten on 16 from 15 deliveries.

McCullum's misery ended soon after the break when he pulled a short delivery from Piyush Chawla straight into the lap of the square leg fielder. His struggle in the IPL continues; he scored a painstaking 19 from 31 deliveries and it is high time the team management considers giving him a break. (54-2, 10.3)

Hodge looked quite comfortable in the middle as he smashed two consecutive boundaries off Yuvraj Singh in the 12th over as Kolkata reached 71 for two.

Kolkata finally gained in momentum in the 15th over when Abdulla, the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, was smashed for a boundary and six by Ganguly and Hodge respectively.

Ganguly then made sure the thrust continued when he stepped down the wicket and smashed Chawla for a huge six through midwicket. The two batsmen also brought up their 50-run partnership in the 16th over off just 32 deliveries.

Ganguly then tried to slog-sweep Chawla through midwicket but got a top edge which was taken by Sangakkara. The left-hander fell at just about the wrong time after hitting a brisk 22 from 17 deliveries. (105-3, 16)

Hodge brought up his second consecutive half-century in the 19th over from just 35 deliveries, inclusive of six boundaries and a six. The Aussie then smashed four boundaries in the space of six deliveries, including three in a row in the final over by Pathan to push Kolkata's score in the final overs.

Hodge finished unbeaten on a magnificent 70 from just 43 deliveries, having hit 10 boundaries and a six, to help Kolkata post a competitive 153 for three in 20 overs.

Morne Van Wyk hit a six off the last delivery of the innings from Pathan to finish unbeaten on 18 from 12 deliveries, the two batsmen adding an unbroken 48 runs in four overs for the fourth wicket.

Hodge engineered a complete turnaround. His superb stroke-play saw Kolkata smash 75 runs in the last six overs. Now if only their bowlers can come up with an equally impressive performance, it won't belong before Shah Rukh Khan is back in South Africa.

Punjab innings:

Ishant Sharma claimed a big wicket for Kolkata in the form of Kumar Sangakkara with the second delivery of the innings. The Sri Lankan tried to pull a short delivery but got a top edge, which was taken by wicketkeeper van Wyk running backwards. (1-1, 0.5)

Newcomer Sunny Sohal lived a charmed life, dropped twice in two deliveries in the second over bowled by Ashok Dinda. Kolkata's fielding dipped to abysmal standards suddenly as every catch was being floored.

In the next over Chris Gayle, standing in the slips, dropped Simon Katich off a leading edge as the batsman looked to flick Ishant through the leg side.

Sohal then made Kolkata pay for their lapses in the field with two consecutive sixes in the fourth over. He smashed Dinda for a huge six over the cover region and followed it up by despatching a short delivery over the point region.

Katich ensured Dinda's misery continued when he launched him straight down the ground for the third six of the over as Punjab raced to 35 for one in four overs.

Lady luck continued to smile on Sohal when he became the beneficiary of a third dropped catch. His miscued shot off Gayle went high towards long-on but Wriddhiman Saha could not hold on to a difficult running catch.

Sohal then rubbed salt in Kolkata's wounded pride when he smashed the next delivery from Gayle for a huge six over square leg.

But Ajit Agarkar got rid of him with his first delivery. The Punjab opener, who scored 25 from 17 deliveries, tried another of his big shots, but could only hole out to mid-on, where Ganguly took a good catch running in. (45-2, 5.1)

Katich looked set for a big knock but against the run of the play fell in rather tame fashion. He hit a full toss from Hodge straight to Saha at the midwicket boundary and was back after scoring 34 from 28 deliveries. (77-3, 9.2)

Yuvraj wasn't his usual fluent self before being dismissed for 14 from 16 deliveries. The Punjab captain made room and tried to smash Ishant through the off-side, but hit straight to Hodge on the point boundary. (109-4, 14.1)

Punjab reached 116 for four after 15 overs, having scored just 35 runs from the last five overs. Gayle then bowled a tight over, conceding just five from the 16th over, leaving Punjab a tough task of scoring 33 from the last four overs.

Irfan Pathan also realised what was the need of the hour and went for quick runs. He glanced Agarkar's full toss fine through fine leg for a boundary leaving his team to get 18 from 12 deliveries.

However, Ishant's final over, the 19th of the innings, tilted the balance in Punjab's favour after the Kolkata pacer gave away 11 runs.

With seven needed from six deliveries, the decisive moment for Punjab came when Jayawardene got an edge that went to the third man region for a boundary. That also brought up the Sri Lanka captain's half-century from 39 deliveries and left Punjab to get two from three deliveries.

Agarkar bowled a low full toss that was patted back straight to the bowler by Jayawardene with two needed off as many deliveries.

Jayawardene then took a single off the penultimate delivery while Irfan flicked the next ball through the leg side to give his team victory off the last delivery.

Jayawardene finished unbeaten on 52 from 41 deliveries (7 boundaries) and Irfan was not out on 19 from 16 deliveries as Punjab finished with 154 for four and a thrilling six-wicket victory.

The two batsmen kept their cool in the final overs adding 45 runs in 5.5 overs for the fifth wicket.

Kolkata put up a good fight, their bowlers stretching Punjab till the last delivery, but were let down by a disappointing show in the field that saw them spill four catches.

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Harish Kotian

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