Resilient Sangakkara gifts a win to Punjab
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 9th April 2010
Kings XI Punjab finally had something to cheer as the hosts inspired by Sangakkara's resilience handed Mumbai an unexpected defeat. The hosts did extremely well to restrict a strong Mumbai Indian line-up to a modest total of 154 before cahsing it down with relative ease.
Sachin Tendulkar was lucky with the spin of the coin and he elected to bat first on a pitch that promised a run-fest. The Punjab bowlers bowled with purpose and the home side reaped its reward as early as in the second over when Dhawan (2, 4b) played an in-swinger from Pathan onto his stumps. Rayudu who came in with the fall of the first wicket took the attack to the opposition camp as he drove, flicked and cut the hosts to distraction. Tendulkar never looked fluent in the middle and the pressure was relieved by a free-flowing Rayudu at the other end.
Sangakkara introduced Chawla and the leg-spinner immediately made an impact as he castled Rayudu (33, 28b, 4x7) with a top-spinner while Tiwary (4, 5b) was stumped by an alert Sangakkara. Tendulkar (29, 25b, 3x4) who seemed to be struggling with his timing unleashed a powerful sweep through square-leg to get the score moving but two balls later he mis-read a perfectly pitched googly from Chawla and found his middle stump pegged back.
That started the rot as the Irfan Pathan took over the bowling duties to restrict Mumbai Indians. The left arm medium pacer had Sathish (20, 17b, 1x4) caught behind and then cleaned up Pollard (18, 14b, 2x4) with a searing yorker. JP Duminy (35, 28b, 2x6, 1x4) after a slow start began to open up as he helped Mumbai Indians register 154 in their 20 overs.
Kings XI Punjab in reply got off to a flier as Barath and Jayawardene put to sword the Mumbai bowlers. None of the bowlers were spared as they were simply blown away with some aggressive strokeplay that was missing in their previous encounters. The pair put on 41 in 4.3 overs before Malinga removed Jayawardene (31, 18b, 7x4) when the right-hander spooned an easy catch to Tiwary at mid-on.
Sangakkara was the next man in and the skipper looked determined right from ball number one. The southpaw was early into his stride as he got boundaries at regular intervals. Barath (33, 27b, 4x4) and Yuvraj Singh fell in quick succession but the result of the match was never in doubt. The match had its moment of suspense when Sangakkara (56, 41b, 1x6, 6x4) was dismissed in the penultimate over but Irfan Pathan (15 not out, 21b, 1x6, 1x4) with some lusty blows ensured that Punjab finished on the winning side.