A see-saw last over - which included a six, a four, a dropped catch and three run-outs - allowed Kings XI Punjab to end Mumbai Indians’ six-match winning streak and boost their hopes for a place in the semi-finals. Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach’s 134-run stand laid the platform but it was Punjab’s accurate bowling at the death under pressure that brought the game to a head in the final over. The over, from VRV Singh, began with Mumbai needing 19, three wickets in hand and Siddharth Chitnis and Dilhara Fernando out in the middle. The first ball was a waist-high no-ball, which Chitnis hit it for six over third man. Twelve to get off six balls. The next delivery was full and wide and Chitnis lifted it over extra cover, where Tanmay Srivastava dropped a difficult catch and the ball ran over the line. Eight needed off five, and the advantage squarely with Mumbai. Then it all went pear-shaped for the home team. The next delivery saw the ball hit to Srivastava, who threw it back to the keeper and Chitnis was run out trying to take a second run. Seven off four, with two wickets in hand. New batsman Ashish Nehra sneaked a bye to get Dilhara Fernando on strike. Six off three and Fernando drove a fuller delivery through cover and it was Srivastava again who fielded the ball and ran out Nehra as the batsmen tried for a risky third run. Four runs off two balls with one wicket remaining - Vikrant Yeligati dropped the ball on the pitch and the batsmen ran two as Punjab’s fielders muffed up what would have been the fifth run-out of the innings. With two needed off the final ball visions arose of the tournament’s first bowl-out. Yeligati drove to mid-off and set off but he picked the wrong fielder - the ball raced to Yuvraj Singh, who picked it up and ran towards the stumps to knock them down full stretch, Jonty Rhodes style, and Punjab had won by a run. It was an incredible turnaround in a match where Mumbai looked like reaching Punjab’s formidable target while Sachin Tendulkar was still at the crease. Punjab’s bowlers nearly undid the efforts of Marsh and Pomersbach, starting with the first two overs. Sreesanth started the innings with three wides - the second racing past the keeper to the boundary - and Irfan Pathan followed with over-pitched deliveries that Sanath Jayasuriya sent for two sixes over long-on and two fours in front of and behind the wicket. However, Sreesanth recovered in his next over to trap Jayasuriya lbw with a sublime legcutter. But Tendulkar chose the moment to strike form in this tournament, taking hold of the reins and punishing VRV Singh’s poor length with fours to fine leg and third man. He reached his fifty by cheekily lobbing a Yuvraj Singh delivery to third-man boundary. Though the required run-rate was more than nine an over, Punjab’s bowlers did not apply much pressure and conceded a boundary in virtually every over. Also, other than Marsh, no Punjab fielder saved enough runs to make Mumbai’s task tougher. Pomersbach dropped Abhishek Nayar in the deep on nine off VRV and Nayar made use of the life to belt two sixes and a four off the bowler’s next over. But once Tendulkar was run out, when Rohin Uthappa sent him back, the Punjab bowlers smelt an opening. Yuvraj Singh, who had gone for 10 runs in his first over, got Shaun Pollock to edge the first ball he faced to Piyush Chawla at short third man. Uthappa, the only proper batsman left, felt the pressure to go after the runs and was caught in the same over trying to clear long-on. Then Sreesanth came back for his final over to remove Pinal Shah and conceded only eight runs in the process. That set up the final-over drama.
But it was really Marsh and Pomersbach’s partnership that gave Punjab the fuel to fight with. Marsh was the more orthodox of the two, playing the spinners by getting inside the line while cutting and pulling the faster bowlers. While both used their feet against the spinners, Marsh cashed in by lofting Yeligati inside-out for a six over long-off and Chitnis for one over long-on. Pomersbach, meanwhile, was in a hurry to score and repeatedly stepped out of the crease, mistiming more often than not. He failed to connect when trying to sweep the spinners and also swung his bat wildly at Fernando’s slower deliveries. But two brutal shots came off his bat in the third over against Nehra - he lifted a good length delivery for six over long-off before swivelling round to pull a four to midwicket.
However it was Marsh who directed the partnership. He hooked Fernando for a six to fine leg and flicked Chitnis to four to take Punjab past 50 in the seventh over. He got to his fifty in 35 balls. The two ran hard between the wickets and apart from Shaun Pollock, early in the innings, no other bowler looked threatening enough to dislodge them.
Eventually it was Punjab who held their nerve in the final minutes and that decided the match in their favour.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:IPL, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Sreesanth, VRV Singh, Yuvraj Singh
Thank you for reading this post. You can now Leave A Comment (0) or Leave A Trackback.
Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
Previous Post: Kumble inspires Bangalore to stunning win »
Next Post: Southee in doubt for second Test »
Read MoreRelated Reading: