Laxmipathy Balaji finished with figures of four for 13 © IANS
Lakshmipathy Balaji (third from left) finished with figures of four for 13 © IANS

 

By R.Vishal

 

Apr 22, 2014

 

Kings XI Punjab‘s stunning start was in no mood to settle down as they make it three out of three in what a clinical display to overpower Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 72 runs in match nine of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. Laxmipathy Balaji came back to wicket-taking ways with a superb outing which saw him finish with figures of four for 13.

 

Glenn Maxwell lit up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) crowd for the third time in a row with the spectators turning fielders for the most part with a range of power-hitting and improvisation that has never been seen before. At the start of the Punjab innings Virender Sehwag  and Cheteshwar Pujara played useful cameos before Maxwell stole the thunder with 95 that came of a measly 42 balls.

 

Hyderabad got off to the wost possible start and skipper Shikhar Dhawan’s lack of foot movement landed him in trouble and Mitchell’s Johnson’s late swing was too much for him to handle. Hyderabad needed one of David Warner or Aaron Finch to play a huge knock and Finch started off well, spanking a couple of lovely shots to the boundary.

 

Johnson was unusually off-colour after the wicket and overstepped twice but his compatriots Warner and Finch failed to connect either of the free-hits. India’s forgotten man Balaji broke the backbone of the Hyderabad batting order with some clever bowling. First, Finch was outsmarted by a straight delivery and was clean-bowled for 19. Warner’s laboured stay at the crease ended with a slash at point which was pouched by Glenn Maxwell in the ring.

 

Sandeep Sharma piled further misery by dismissing Venugopal Rao. Venugopal was unfortunate as the ball kept low and hit the stumps. Lokesh Rahul, vying to cement his place as one of India’s best young batsman smacked a couple of lovely shots to the boundary. There was further damage as Akshar Patel sent Irfan Pathan packing and with half the side back in the hut for 74, the writing was on the wall for Sunrisers.

 

Sensing danger, George Bailey sent Balaji into the attack and he was rewarded with a wicket straight-away with Sammy smacking a delivery straight to mid-off and Akshar got his revenge by jumping up and pouching a well-taken catch. Sammy was out for 15. Rahul’s tenacious knock ended by trying to heave Akshar Patel out of the ground. With the target out of reach wickets fell at regular intervals and Balaji’s inspired spell meant that Hyderabad slumped to their second straight defeat and Punjab are sitting pretty at the top of the pile with a 72-run win.

 

Brief scores:

 

Kings XI Punjab 193 for 6 in 20 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 35, Virender Sehwag 30, Glenn Maxwell 95;  Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 3 for 19, Amit Mishra 2 for 56) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 121 in 19.2 overs (Aaron Finch 19, KL Rahul 27, Darren Sammy 15; Laxmipathy Balaji 4 for 13, Akshar Patel 2 for 20) by 72 runs.

 

Man of the Match: Glenn Maxwell

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(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian School of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)