Seamers set up comfortable win for Kings XI
Kings XI Punjab 121 for 5 (Miller 34*) beat Delhi Daredevils 120 for 7 (Warner 40, Harmeet 3-24) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kings XI Punjab's campaign in IPL 2013 gathered pace with their second consecutive win, a stroll in the park compared to their adrenaline-charged chase against Pune Warriors. A fine bowling effort from the Kings XI's seamers, backed by some sharp fielding, restricted the bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils to a modest 120, which the Kings XI batsmen chased comfortably with three overs to spare.
Kings XI opted to bowl on a slow Kotla track and they didn't let partnerships to blossom, the highest being 39 between David Warner and Manprit Juneja. Mahela Jayawardene's promotion to the opening position clicked against Mumbai Indians, when he made 59, but today his innings ended on 4 when he edged Praveen Kumar to slip. Roelof van der Merwe's promotion to No.3 didn't work as he top-edged Parvinder Awana to cover. It set a pattern for the evening as several batsmen from both sides perished to top-edges.
Perhaps it was the slow nature of the Kotla track that prompted Kings XI to bring in the seamer Harmeet Singh, known for his back-of-the-hand slower balls. Playing his first game of IPL 2013, replacing Manpreet Gony, Harmeet was hammered for a four and a six by Virender Sehwag off consecutive balls in his first over. In his second, he frustrated Sehwag with his slower balls, forcing the batsman to improvise. Sehwag looked to open up, made room and ended up scooping the ball low to extra cover, where Mandeep Singh timed his dive well and took the catch.
Warner gave the innings some impetus with a flurry of boundaries in one over by Piyush Chawla, taking 16 off it. The stand between Warner and Juneja was the only period in which Daredevils had a semblance of control, until Harmeet steered the momentum Kings XI's way in his second spell. Juneja pulled a slower ball, bowled short, straight to fine leg, before Kedar Jadhav top-edged to extra cover in the same over.
The boundaries dried up with the procession of wickets and it only increased the pressure on Warner. The drought lasted four overs before Warner clipped Praveen behind square leg, before the bowler knocked the base of the base off stump with a swinging yorker. In the end, Daredevils limped to 120, in contrast to the record-shattering pyrotechnics earlier in the evening by Chris Gayle and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Adam Gilchrist fell three balls into the chase, trying to smash his way into form and convince his franchise he can still hold his position in the team, seeing how certain franchises are grappling with the issue of non-performing overseas captains. Mandeep gave the chase momentum with scoops and cuts off the seamers, but a promising knock was cut short thanks to a direct hit by Warner. A top-edge sent back Manan Vohra and at 70 for 4 in the tenth over, Daredevils had narrowed the gap a bit. However, David Miller ensured no further jitters as he and David Hussey took Kings XI closer.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo