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Kings XI clinches win off the last ball

Poor fielding does no good to Kolkata Knight Riders’ showing

— Photo: AFP

AESTHETIC AND ASSURED: The unflappable and stylish Mahela Jayawardene played a well-paced innings to take Kings XI Punjab to a thrilling win on Sunday.

PORT ELIZABETH: Mahela Jayawardene struck an unbeaten 52 to guide Kings XI Punjab to a nail-biting six-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.

The Sri Lankan batsman hit seven fours in his 41-ball knock as Punjab surpassed Kolkata’s competitive 153 for three in a last-ball finish at St. George’s Park.

Jayawardene first shared a 25-ball 33-run stand with Simon Katich (34), added 32 runs with skipper Yuvraj Singh (14) and forged a matching-winning 43-run stand with Irfan Pathan (19).

Needing seven from the final over by paceman Ajit Agarkar, Jayawardene hit a four while Irfan fetched the winning runs.

In second spot

The victory helped Punjab climb to the second position in the points table while the struggling Kolkata continued to languish at the bottom with its sixth defeat from eight matches.

The Yuvraj Singh-led Punjab has now won four of its seven matches in this Twenty20 competition.

Punjab was off to a disappointing start with Ishant Sharma claiming Kumar Sangakkara for a duck in the first over but a slew of dropped catches and poor fielding did Kolkata no favours.

Simon Katich (34) was dropped on five by Chris Gayle while debutant Sunny Sohal also thrived on three grassed chances to make a fine 17-ball 25 on debut.

Hodge delights

Earlier, Knight Riders’ innings was built around Brad Hodge who top-scored with an unbeaten 70 off just 43 balls.

Hodge stitched together a 31-run stand with skipper Brendon McCullum, added 51 with Sourav Ganguly (22) before putting on another 48 runs for the unbeaten fourth wicket with Morne van Wyk (18 not out) to anchor the Kolkata innings after McCullum decided to bat.

Knight Riders was off to a subdued start with openers Chris Gayle (17) and McCullum (19) scoring only 15 runs in the first four overs.

Gayle tried to accelerate, smashing two successive boundaries off Yusuf Abdulla in the next over but the South African had the last laugh when he had the left-hander caught at mid-on by Yuvraj Singh.

Hodge then joined McCullum in the middle but runs were not easy to come by as they crawled to 52 for one in 10 overs.

After the strategy break, Kolkata lost McCullum when his slog-sweep found Vikramjeet Malik at deep square leg off Piyush Chawla.

Tight bowling

With Kings XI bowlers keeping a tight line and length, Ganguly and Hodge picked up ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking.

In the 15th over, Hodge brought up the first six of the Kolkata innings when he heaved Abdulla over long off. Soon Ganguly joined the party and sent Chawla out of the park to up the tempo.

Ganguly, however, could not stay long and fell to Chawla when Kumar Sangakkara took a skier.

Hodge, however, continued his blitzkrieg and brought up his second IPL fifty in the 19th over and followed it up with a four off Abdulla past square leg.

In the last over off Irfan Hodge slammed three consecutive fours and van Wyk hit a six to score 21 off the over as Kolkata went past the 150-mark.

For Punjab, Chawla bagged two for 27, while Abdulla scalped one giving away 33 runs. — Agencies

SCOREBOARD

 Kolkata Knight Riders: B. McCullum c Malik b Chawla 19 (31b, 1x4), C. Gayle c Yuvraj b Abdulla 17 (17b, 3x4), B. Hodge (not out) 70 (43b, 10x4, 1x6), S. Ganguly c Sangakkara b Chawla 22 (17b, 1x4, 1x6), M. van Wyk (not out) 18 (12b, 1x4, 1x6), Extras (lb-3, w-4): 7; Total (for three wkts. in 20 overs): 153.

Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-54, 3-105.

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Powar 2-0-8-0, Irfan 4-0-37-0, Abdulla 4-0-33-1, Malik 4-0-23-0, Chawla 4-0-27-2, Yuvraj 2-0-22-0.

Kings XI Punjab: S. Sohal c Ganguly b Agarkar 25 (17b, 3x6), K. Sangakkara c van Wyk b Ishant 0 (2b), S. Katich c Saha b Hodge 34 (28b, 3x4, 1x6), M. Jayawardene (not out) 52 (41b, 7x4), Yuvraj c Hodge b Ishant 14 (16b, 1x4), Irfan (not out) 19 (16b, 2x4), Extras (lb-2, w-8): 10; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 154.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-44, 3-77, 4-109.

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Ishant 4-0-27-2, Dinda 2-0-26-0, Gayle 3-0-20-0, Agarkar 4-0-29-1, Shukla 1-0-8-0, Ganguly 1-0-9-0, Hodge 2-0-13-1, Kartik 3-0-20-0.

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