Shaun Marsh guides Punjab to near-200

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By Suneer Chowdhary

 

Mohali: Apr 21, 2011

 

Kings XI Punjab scored 73 in the first five overs, 26 in their last five and in the end, would be pleased with the 195 for seven that they got in their 20 overs. Especially after they had lost the toss and were put into bat by Shane Warne.

 

It was one of the most happening opening burst of three overs, and that is even by IPL standards. It was obvious that the Royals had some plans to restrict the man in form, Paul Valthaty.

 

For a moment, it looked like the plans had fructified. Valthaty was dismissed in the second over off a short ball from Shaun Tait that he fended off to the third slip. However, after a replay, it was deemed to be a no-ball and the batsman survived.

 

Valthaty did not look back after that, till the time he finally got out.

 

Only an over earlier, Gilchrist had been bowled off an inside-edge as well, but Trivedi had over-stepped the mark and the batsman had a reprieve.

 

That was about the chances that the side needed on a flat track and the pair raced off to the quickest half century in the history of IPL cricket. It had come in 2.5 overs for no loss. Trivedi, who had started off the IPL with a man of the match performance had been clattered for 38 from his two overs.

 

Shane Warne was also greeted with a six and a four in his first over and it was only in the fifth over from Shane Watson that the runs were stalled. Simply, because Gilchrist finally holed out to mid-on.

 

77 had come off the first six overs of the innings and the Kings XI Punjab had laid a foundation to get to more than 200.

 

Valthaty got his first taste of the Orange Cap when he got to 36 but a couple of dropped chances and a six later, he had holed out off Warne, leaving the side at 105 for two in the tenth over.

 

At this stage, one would have thought that there would be some respite for Warne’s men but Shaun Marsh had clearly other ideas.

 

Taking advantage of the good batting conditions, Marsh refused to get carried away, playing some delectable strokes. Had one not known that this was a T20 game, looking at Marsh’s strokes, one would have never guessed it to be so.

 

There were cover-drives and then there were more cover-drives before Warne was swept for three sixes in one over in the same region by Marsh.

 

Marsh’s half-century came off 29 balls and Warne’s four had gone for a half-century. Trivedi’s day did not get any better as Karthik sprayed three successive boundaries in different directions – a pull, a cut and then a scoop to round off the over.

 

At the end of the 15th over, Punjab were 169 for two and 220 looked achievable. The Royals came back into the game in the last five overs.

 

Tait pulled things back for the Royals in the 16th over, conceding six and scalping the wicket of Karthik (21) while Watson gave only three in the next over.

 

Abhishek Nayar was run-out in that over and with only five being picked in the 18th, the Kings had slipped.

 

Marsh, who had been batting beautifully till the start of the Royals comeback, lost strike and momentum and soon his wicket to Watson. With his dismissal for 71 (42 balls), Punjab managed to score only 26 in the last five overs.

 

And yet, the target of 196 will require some getting.  

 

While Punjab went into the game with only one change, Bhargav Bhatt coming in place of Vikramjeet Malik, there were shuffles galore for the Royals. Swapnil Asnodkar joined the side as the opening batsman, Rahul Dravid rejoined the team after his injury problem previously, Dishant Yagnik made his IPL debut while Stuart Binny was also called into the playing eleven after having last played in the opening game.

 

Brief Scores: KXIP 195 for 7 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 71, Paul Valthaty 46; Shane Watson 2 for 24, Shaun Tait 3 for 22) vs RR.

 

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)

 

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