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The Bulletin by Sidharth Monga
April 16, 2011
Kings XI Punjab166 for 2 (Valthaty 75, Gilchrist 61) beat Deccan Chargers 165 for 8 (Dhawan 45, Sangakkara 35, Valthaty 4-29, McLaren 2-33) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Advantage Honours even
Don't shake Paul Valthaty's hand any time soon. You might just turn to gold. He followed up his century in Kings XI Punjab's previous game by surprising everybody with his split-finger slower balls, in the Dilhara Fernando mould, taking 4 for 29, the best figures by any Punjab bowler, and then - with a 47-ball 75 - made a mockery of a target he had himself kept down to 165.
The turnaround for Punjab began with a good piece of fielding, and then a fortuitous lob off what should have been a leg-side wide. Until then Kumar Sangakkara and Shikhar Dhawan had put up a fine display of driving in a 75-run second-wicket stand, Deccan's best for any wicket this season, but both fell within three runs to send the hosts into rebuild mode for the best part of the second half of their innings.
Deccan Chargers had reached 88 for 1 in the 11th over, and the set batsmen were just looking to open up further when a diving Shaun Marsh at extra cover made sure Sangakkara stayed on strike. Sangakkara slog-swept the next ball to deep midwicket where Ryan McLaren took a good, low catch. In the next over, Valthaty's slower ball went wrong, and was going way down the leg side until Dhawan decided to try and clear short fine leg. Instead, the ball landed in the fielder's lap. Two starts had been wasted, Deccan had to become circumspect.
Valthaty's next over featured two similar slower balls. Bharat Chipli escaped long-off off the first, but the other was picked up near long-on. Daniel Christian's 30 off 14 threatened a major assault towards the end, but Valthaty once again pulled Deccan back with two wickets in two balls: Christian was bowled attempting a slog, and Amit Mishra then missed a scoop over the keeper's head and was trapped lbw.
Valthaty didn't get a chance to finish a hat-trick: the wickets came off the last two deliveries of the 19th over. However, he would get a chance to make the match his own when opening the innings. And how he owned the game. Carrying the confidence that he could do no wrong, Valthaty upper-cut and flicked Dale Steyn, then cut Ishant Sharma for a six, and took Manpreet Gony apart with some merciless hitting in the fifth over, which went for 23 runs.
In that one over, Valthaty did everything to suggest that as a batsman there is nothing he cannot do. He judged a shortish delivery early, and pulled. He lofted a delivery of similar length over mid-off. He danced down the track to hit a six over long-off. He drove wide of the fielder once long-off went back. He drove a near-yorker past point for four. Adam Gilchrist, one of the cleanest hitters the game has seen, was a mere admirer. At 59 for 0 after five, the game was all but over.
Gilchrist wasn't to be left behind, though. Soon he was hitting Gony for one of the longest sixes of the tournament so far; soon he was pipping Valthaty to the fifty, bringing it up in 30 balls. Valthaty was 46 off 29 then. More clean hitting followed. Valthaty brought up his fifty with a six over long-off, and then hit another to overtake his captain. Gilchrist finally fell for 61, walking back to a hearty applause for his former home crowd, but Valthaty stayed back, and became the joint-highest run-getter this season, before finally getting out after having scored 195 runs between dismissals.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
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