Punjab humiliate Bangalore to stay top

2014-05-10 00:00

BANGALORE — The Kings XI Punjab cemented their place at the top of the table by humiliating Royal Challengers Bangalore on their home ground, winning by 32 runs, led by David Miller’s brilliant 66 off 29 balls.

The Challengers knew they had to get back on a winning streak to entertain any hope of making the play-offs, and winning at their fortress was essential. But their much-vaunted multi-million-dollar batting line-up collapsed once again, amassing just 166, of which 53 came from AB de Villiers, unshackled by the hopelessness of the cause (26b, 5x6, 1x4).

Having put the Kings in to bat, the Challengers’ bowlers conceded 198 runs in an abject display. The batsmen, chasing 9,9 an over, needed to get off to a good start, but by the end of the power play they were three wickets down and 165 runs behind, needing nearly 12 an over.

Paceman Sandeep Sharma, as he had done when these teams met in Dubai, did the damage, taking two wickets in two balls.

The Kings’ total was highlighted by Miller’s knock, which included three sixes and eight fours, but he had been given the freedom to play by an opening stand of 60 by Virender Sehwag and Mandeep Singh after Kohli had invited his guests to bat.

His plan was not helped by the indiscipline of the bowlers, who gave away eight wides and two no-balls in the first six overs, as well as leaking five runs to an overthrow.

Their spirits were lifted when Mandeep was deceived by a slower delivery from seamer Harshal Patel, and four balls later, Virender Seh­wag was undone by the flight from leg-spinner Yuz­vendra Chahal.

But that brought together the phenomenal Glenn Maxwell and Miller. “G-Max” lasted just 11 balls, but in that time he racked up two sixes and two fours until he was caught on the boundary by the high-reaching Mitchell Starc to give Chahal his second wicket.

Albie Morkel was able to get into the act with the valuable wicket of George Bailey before he could get going, but the most potent weapon in the Challengers’ arsenal, Chahal, had to be kept on to try to crack the back of the batting. His fourth over came and went with the Kings on 136 for four, and his honour intact with 2-23.

Not so for Harshal Patel, who was bludgeoned to the tune of 56 off three overs, Mitchell Starc, who went for 43 while picking up two tail-enders in a flurry of wickets in the closing stages, and Yuv­raj Singh, who was taken off after his one over leaked 19 runs.

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