In a match where the pendulum did a see-saw on a few occasions, Kings XI Punjab held their nerve to outclass the Hobart Hurricanes by five wickets at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. After restricting the visitors to a modest 144 for 6, KXIP recovered from a poor start to eventually surpass the target in the 18th over. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M2 - KINGS XI PUNJAB V HOBART HURRICANES)
A target of 145 should have been a straightforward affair for Kings XI Punjab, given the riches in their lineup. However, Doug Bollinger rocked the chase very early when he had Virender Sehwag caught at thirdman off the first ball of the chase and dismissed Wriddhiman Saha in the third over. Ben Hilfenhaus joined in the act when he picked up the dangerous David Miller first ball. And when Ben Laughlin accounted for the wicket of Manan Vohra in the eighth over, KXIP were in a dire situation at 51 for 4.
In a low-scoring match, on a surface that didn’t have too many demons, it needed one player to score 40 or more to swing the match in his team’s favour. That contribution came from Glenn Maxwell, who batted with his usual aggressive instincts to put the chase back on track. One got to see a well-timed reverse sweep and some full-blooded drives in his 25-ball outing during which he hit four boundaries and two sixes. He was dismissed for 43 when he feathered an Evan Gulbis short delivery to the wicket-keeper.
Hurricanes skipper George Bailey and Thisara Perera, ensured there were no more hiccups and took the team past the finish line. The ever-calm and ever-smiling Bailey contributed 34 runs, while Perera’s 20-ball 35 had four hits to the fence and one over it. The Bailey-Perera partnership – which would be the highest partnership in the match - was worth 69 runs.
Barring leg-spinner Cameron Boyce who conceded 36 runs in his three overs, the rest of the Hobart Hurricanes bowlers had a decent outing. Bollinger returned the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Hilfenhaus, Laughlin and Gulbis chipped in with a wicket each.
Earlier in the evening, the Kings XI Punjab bowlers, after opting to bowl first, bowled disciplined lines and lengths to make run scoring a difficult proposition for the Hobart Hurricanes batsmen. Runs came in trickles and it wasn’t until the sixth over that the innings got some momentum. The opener Ben Dunk picked up three boundaries off Parvinder Awana as 13 runs were added in the over just before the field restrictions were eased.
The left-hand opener, who had scored six runs off the first 13 deliveries he faced, added a further 20 from the next 12 balls before a miscue landed in the hands of Maxwell. One-drop Aiden Blizzard made a brisk 27 from 18 balls, and Shoaib Malik contributed a run-a-ball 14 in the period just after the powerplay overs.
When it was time to step on the accelerator, Travis Birt and Jonathan Wells, batting at five and six respectively, brought out the big strokes. Wells picked up five boundaries, while Birt deposited two into the stands as the fifth wicket pair added 52 runs in 5.1 overs in what would be the most productive partnership of the innings. The innings lost a little momentum at the end when Wells was run out in the eighteenth over; he made 28 from 18 balls. Birt was dismissed in the final over when his attempted scoop landed in the hands of short fine-leg; he made 28 from 21 balls. The Hobart Hurricanes eventually finished with a score of 144 for 6.
The inexperienced Karanveer Singh (1-37 from 3 overs) turned out to be the weak-link in what was an otherwise clinical performance from the Kings XI Punjab bowlers. Thisara Perera returned the most successful bowler picking up two wickets, while Akshar Patel and Awana picked up a wicket each.
Brief Scores: Hobart Hurricanes 144-6 in 20.0 Overs (Ben Dunk 26, Aiden Blizzard 27, Travis Birt 28, Jonathan Wells 28, Thisara Perera 2-17) lost to Kings XI Punjab 146-5 in 17.4 Overs (Glenn Maxwell 43, George Bailey 34*, Thisara Perera 35*, Doug Bollinger 2-30)
Kings XI Punjab win by 5 wickets
Man of the Match: Thisara Perera, for his all-round performance. He took 2-17 in the Hobart Hurricanes innings and made an unbeaten 35 in the run-chase.
Bailey: "There were a few butterflies at 5 down but Maxwell and Perera were terrific, I am really proud at the way those guys kept at it. There is a lot of bragging rights on the line, they have a very good team and they will challenge at this competition. Our bowlers did an outstanding job to keep the Hurricanes to that score and they deserve all the credit. It's great to be back with this team, there is still a lot of hunger here."
Paine: "We are very disappointed to lose the game but I think we can take some positives out of the match. We tailed off at the end of our batting and probably the same with our bowling after good starts with both. We have a lot of good players on the bench so we will rotate the team if necessary."