Punjab v Chennai, IPL 2011, Mohali April 13, 2011

Valthaty ton pulls off superb chase


Kings XI Punjab 193 for 4 (Valthaty 120*) beat Chennai Super Kings 188 for 4 (Vijay 74, Badrinath 66*) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The IPL's northernmost franchise found a hero with roots in the south, as Paul Valthaty stunned Chennai Super Kings to clinch a maiden win for Kings XI Punjab this season after a disappointing performance in their opening game. Valthaty was a surprise promotion to the opening slot, instead of the regular Shaun Marsh, and he answered the call with a blistering start, keeping his team on par with the required-rate in the middle overs and surging again at the death to complete victory after achieving a spectacular century.

At 27, with just one List A game and 13 Twenty20 matches, Valthaty had been on the sidelines of the Mumbai team on India's domestic circuit. His previous highest in the IPL was 6, but whatever he must have done at the practice sessions ahead of this game sparked a potentially career-changing turn of events. Punjab had been deflated at the end of the Chennai innings, after they had squandered the perfect start of two wickets off the first two balls to concede 188. The sight of an unfamiliar face walking out with Adam Gilchrist raised eyebrows, but it didn't take too long for Valthaty to justify his promotion.

In what was overall a descent into mediocrity for both teams with the ball, the only signs of promise were visible in the first few overs in either innings. As Tim Southee found some swing and R Ashwin accuracy in the early phase of the chase, Valthaty did as asked, combating the bowling with brute force as his usually belligerent partner ceded floor. Ashwin was swept over square leg and hit over mid-on, Southee was punished for providing width with a bludgeon through point and Albie Morkel was welcomed with a ferocious pull for six followed by a disdainful slash to the point boundary.

Valthaty had smashed 45 of the 65 that came in the Powerplay, the wicket of Gilchrist proving a minor distraction. The focus turned to keeping the momentum with Punjab and he showed his adeptness at picking the gaps, backing up the strength in his forearms with a wonderful use of the wrists. The second ball after the Powerplay was delicately late-cut past point, and the singles were picked up with ease amid excellent support from Sunny Singh at the other end who struck a few useful blows of his own.

Valthaty hammered Jakati and Randiv through the off side and lofted Styris for a straight six, ensuring the chase was on track despite the loss of Sunny and Abhishek Nayar in quick succession. Thirty-eight were needed off 24 when Morkel was brought back, a decision MS Dhoni was made to regret. Morkel had dropped Valthaty twice, among the many fielding lapses from Chennai, and hurt his team's chances even further in an over that fetched 17. He gifted a full toss on the pads, then produced a streaky edge that brought up a 52-ball ton for Valthaty, who followed up with superbly timed steer past point to make it 21 off three overs. Even the otherwise impressive Southee faltered against Valthaty in his final over to be slashes for two fours, before Dinesh Karthik slog-swept Jakati to seal a morale-boosting win.

That performance undermined a Chennai recovery led by Badrinath and Vijay, one seeking to constantly improvise and the other relying on powerplay, in a 124-run stand to set the foundation for a total that would test the opposition even on a flat pitch. Some inept bowling from Piyush Chawla and Bhargav Bhatt provided them the release to open up after the early tough phase, while Nayar's failed variations in pace and Praveen's poor return at the death, in the 18th over where Dhoni blasted 22, appeared to have put it beyond Punjab. Who would have bet on Valthaty to pull off a coup?

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Finn on April 14, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    It's just one knock, admittedly a very good one but let the bloke have a few more before you decide he's the next best thing. I will say that he was incredibly modest during the presentation ceremony and hats off to him for that

  • upal on April 14, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    Good job another Indian talent. Ipl teams need young Indian batsmans. Have you heard of Raina, Rohit, Pathan, Uthappa, Kohli, Gambhir, Manish Pandey, T Suman, A Rayudu, S Dhavan, P Valthaty,Dhoni, Nayar, Yuvaraj, Vijay, Sehvag, Rao and many more. The IPL games are won by these players, not by players like Mahela or Ganguly. If you are an Indian player you can play every game because India doesn't play international games at this time and you have 7 spots. To play in T20 either you have to be an all rounder or a really good fielder. So the ideal team would be few of those talents I mentioned earlier and some very good foreign bowlers or all rounders like Kallis. This is exactly what Bombay, Chennai, Pune, KKR and Banglore did. You don't have to be a millionaire genius to figure this out but watch IPL and International cricket for the past few years. But Patel is here in Kerala to make money not to win.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Paul, pl dedicate this knock to poor Priti. She was so much enthusiastic over her team right from beginning of IPL, but no player like you ever made her so happy.I respect your Ton because You have scored those runs against a powerful battery of bowlers, fielder and against a much worshiped national captain cool.I wish you play for the nation soon and let your name find in the carvings of Cricket.

  • Piyush on April 14, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    here we go again. one such knock and already there are talks of career changing innings! when will india and indians in general get out of the hole they keep digging for themselves of instant gratification, instant glory!

    yes great knock and well played. but let the guy show character and temparament. otherwise we have another yusuf in the making. score in 1 match and then waste the next 20 innings. which probably even geoff boycott's mum could do if she stood at the crease and swung her bat wildly!

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    cool but boring match for chennaiets

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    guys.. new heroes are coming. I do say he is nt the next pandey. having all the skill set which mahela J is having. how Kerala has missed this guy if he is from there? super show love to recall 3 boundaries he scored against mokel along with other 2*2 what a classy act. droni he s for you.. if you don't please pass him to sri lanka.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    Paul Valathy is very prospective talent for India Lets hope that he shows the same performance in future as well that will help him get a India Berth

  • Asit on April 14, 2011, 2:42 GMT

    great knock by valthathy...he is such a clean hitter of the ckt ball there was no slogging but clean methodical hitting.why the hell piyush chawla is still playing ckt??he should do us a favor and retire from all forms of ckt.valthaty is a bit older to be considered a team india prospect but this guy has amazing talent i would like him to open the innings in the next T20 world cup for india.good luck to him

  • TR on April 14, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Something happens to Dhoni if his side scores high batting first. His fielders drop catches, bowlers bowl well-outside-legstump ... If the whole team fares bad, captain is to be blamed. They seem to think they will win simply by being in the ground and not doing anything.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    I have never heard of this player Valhaty before. Gilchrist you have a knack to spot someone like you. Indians could not spot him and you have done a service for India but I do not know whether whether Paul has the right connections to go forward. He is 27 a little late but I hope India will look after him.

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