May 22, 2008

Kings XI Punjab gets closer to a semi-final spot

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Kings XI Punjab defeated Mumbai Indians by a solitary run, in one of the most exciting matches played in the Indian Premier League. Such tense, intensely fought matches would increase the spectators’ interest in the Twenty20 format.

Marsh and Pomersbach sizzle
Sachin Tendulkar won the toss and decided to bowl first. It looked like a good decision when Shaun Pollock removed James Hopes in just the third delivery of the match. But, the Mumbai Indians had to wait until the 15th over for the second wicket. During this period, the Australians Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach played some exciting cricket. They put together an emphatic partnership that yielded 133 runs in just 86 deliveries. Shaun Marsh was dismissed for 81 runs from 56 deliveries, but Luke Pomersbach continued and remained unbeaten on 79 from 50 deliveries. Kings XI Punjab completed the innings with a challenging total of 189 for 4.

So Near, Yet So Far
Mumbai Indians started the chase in a splendid fashion. Sree Santh helped the scoreboard by starting off with three wide deliveries. Runs started to flow from the bat of Sanath Jayasuriya. When he was dismissed by Sree Santh, Mumbai Indians were off to a flying start with 36 runs on the board from just 16 deliveries. Dwayne Smith came in at No. 3 and continued from Jayasuriya left. With Tendulkar too getting into the act, this pair put on 45 runs from 35 deliveries. Smith’s departure did not change the way the Mumbai Indians were progressing. Nayar came in next and continued attacking the bowling. The third wicket partnership was worth 46 runs from just 28 deliveries.

By the end of 16 overs, the Mumbai Indians were comfortably placed at 156 for 3. With Sachin batting fluently and Robin Uthappa for company, 34 runs from the last 4 overs should have been an easy target. But, the next two overs changed it all. Sachin Tendulkar was run out in the 17th over and Yuvraj Singh accounted for Shaun Pollock and Robin Uthappa in the 18th over. But, the drama was not over yet. With 19 runs required off the last over bowled by VRV Singh, Chritnis hit a six off a no-ball and a four off the next delivery. 8 runs required from 5 deliveries. What followed? Three run-outs in five deliveries and the Mumbai Indians fell short of the target by just one run.

Sachin, Why?
Since the match went so close, several questions were raised about Sachin Tendulkar’s captaincy. Why did he choose Nehra to bowl the last over while Shaun Pollock had still one over left? Why did he not give Jayasuriya a chance to bowl? In fact, Yuvraj Singh picked two wickets for 12 runs in two overs. Mumbai Indians lost a match which they should have won comfortably in the end.

Where do we go from here?
That ends the six-match winning streak of the Mumbai Indians. Punjab, now, has 16 points and is very close to securing a semi-final spot. We will discuss about the match between Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings and Dravid’s Bangalore Royal Challengers in the next article.


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