Balaji deals killer blow to Sunrisers

2014-04-23 00:00

GLENN Maxwell and Lakshmipathy Balaji inspired the Kings XI Punjab to a massive 72-run victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League encounter at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Set a daunting task of having to chase 194 for victory, the Sunrisers were bundled out for 121 in 19.2 overs thanks to Balaji who claimed fantastic figures of 4-13 in four overs.

Punjab posted 193 for six, with Glenn Maxwell scoring his third consecutive half-century, being dismissed by Amit Mishra (2-56) for 95 off only 43 balls.

The Hyderabad chase never left first base as Mitchell Johnson (2-26) struck in his first over, dismissing the Sunrisers’ captain Shikhar Dhawan for a single.

Balaji then dealt the killer blow, from which the Sunrisers were never able to recover, as the right-arm seamer dismissed both Aaron Finch (19) and David Warner (eight) in his first over to leave Hyderabad on 33 for three after five overs.

Lokesh Rahul hung around for a top score of 27 from 27 balls before being caught by David Miller off Akshar Patel (2-20), but none of the Sunrisers’ batsmen were able to handle Balaji, Johnson or Sandeep Sharma (1-26).

Darren Sammy struck one telling blow onto the roof of the stadium but was caught at mid-off by Patel, who timed his jump to perfection to give Balaji his third wicket. Balaji then dismissed Dale Steyn (12) in the penultimate over before Rishi Dhawan (1-23) finished off the game by dismissing Bhuvneshwar Kumar for one.

Punjab have had to rely on Maxwell and Miller in previous games but the veteran opener Virender Sehwag (30) and Cheteshwar Pujara (35) made a good start with a first wicket partnership of 51 inside seven overs. Pujara and Maxwell then scored 35 for the second wicket before Maxwell opened up. Miller came to the crease at the fall of Pujara’s wicket at the end of the 11th over with the total on 86 for two, but the South African middle-order batsman stood at the non-strikers’ end and watched Maxwell destroy the Sunrisers’ bowling attack.

The Kings XI Punjab have now won three games, including their first victory over the Sunrisers, and sit atop the IPL log with six points.

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