Kings XI Punjab, true to their reputation of being a very dangerous batting side, lit up the evening skies at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali as they posted 215 runs on the board and then dismissed opponents Northern Knights for 95 to register their third win in the Oppo CLT20 2014. The resounding 120-run victory means Kings XI Punjab have returned to the top of the Group B standings and have secured their semi-final berth. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M13 - KINGS XI PUNJAB V NORTHERN KNIGHTS)
Put in to bat, KXIP were off to a blazing start. And it wasn’t Virender Sehwag who caused the early damage. His opening partner Manan Vohra set things rolling in the first over with a crisp straight drive off Trent Boult and followed it up with a tuck of the pads, picking up boundaries on both occasions. He top-edged Tim Southee for a six in the following over and picked up three boundaries in the bowler’s second over as Kings XI Punjab brought up 50 on the board in 4.5 overs.
By the time the field restrictions were eased, KXIP had raced to 71 for no loss; Vohra had consumed the bulk of the deliveries (24) to be on 46, while Sehwag had faced 12 balls for 21. After hitting Ish Sodhi for successive sixes at the start of the ninth over, Vohra attempted to make it three in a row but holed out to the man at the midwicket fence; he made 65 and hit eight boundaries and three sixes. During his 32-ball outing, one got to see an array of strokes from the 21-year old; there were powerful cuts through point, crisp drives through cover, drives down the ground, flicks off the pads, and two pull shots and a hook shot which cleared the ropes.
After the openers had added 102 runs in 8.3 overs, KXIP sent in Thisara Perera in a surprise move. The Sri Lankan found the boundary twice in his 12-ball cameo. Glenn Maxwell attempted the slog sweep and the switch-hit, but didn’t last long, perishing for 7.
Sehwag, who was pretty muted all along, brought up his half-century in the 14th over in some style, dancing outside the line of the leg stump and hitting Ish Sodhi over extra-cover. He perished soon after, leg before to Scott Kuggeleijn, but not before he’d made 52 from 37 balls, aided with five boundaries and a six.
David Miller applied the finishing touches with an unbeaten 18-ball 40 – studded with five boundaries and a six - that helped lift Kings XI Punjab, who were at one point looking good to set a total around 190, to 215 for 5.
Scott Kuggeleijn and Ish Sodhi picked up two wickets each, while Scott Styris accounted for the wicket of George Bailey. The new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee had another poor outing, conceding 93 runs in eight overs between them.
Faced with the pressure of an asking rate of 10.80, which was mounting with every dot delivery, the Northern Knights never really got themselves into a position from where they could challenge KXIP. Despite losing opener Daniel Harris cheaply, the Northern Knights gave a good account of themselves when the quick bowlers were in operation.
But, once the spinners were thrust into action after the fielding restrictions had eased – at which point the Northern Knights were 58 for 2 – the wheels came off the chase. Owing to some tight bowling from the spinners, some fabulous work on the field and the pressure of an ever-climbing required rate, the Northern Knights lost eight wickets for 37 runs to be bowled out for 95. The 120-run defeat, which by itself makes the Kiwi side’s road to the semi-final a lot harder, also resulted in the Northern Knights’ net run rate plummeting to -3.655.
Karanveer Singh, who picked up a wicket in each of the four overs he bowled, was the most successful bowler for KXIP with figures of 4 for 15 from 3.2 overs, while Akshar Patel returned figures of 2 for 16 from his four-over spell.
KXIP win by 120 runs
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 215-5 in 20.0 Overs (Virender Sehwag 52, Manan Vohra 65, Scott Kuggeleijn 2-34, Ish Sodhi 2-37) defeated Northern Knights 95 in 15.2 Overs (Anton Devcich 28, Karanveer Singh 4-15, Akshar Patel 2-16)
Man of the Match: Manan Vohra, for his 32-ball 65
Bailey: "When a team has struggled to chase I thought that was something we could tap into tonight. It was a really good fielding effort, it was electric out there."
Flynn: "They played very well, but we showed character to claw them back I think. You have to adapt and we didnt do that how we would like. We were found out, it is a learning experience and we will take that with us."