Win keeps Kings XI's hopes alive
Kings XI Punjab 171 for 4 (Marsh 45, Miller 44*, Gilchrist 42) beat Delhi Daredevils 164 for 7 (Rohrer 49, Sandeep 3-23) by seven runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kings XI Punjab kept themselves in contention for the fourth and final playoff spot with a win over Delhi Daredevils, who suffered their 12th defeat of the season. Daredevils played five fast bowlers and chose to bowl on a greenish pitch in the Dharamsala mountain air. That was all that went in their favour. Kings XI took advantage of Daredevils' wide lines to blaze away at the start, and despite slowing down during the middle, pulled away again at the death to post 171. It looked to be a par score for the small ground and true pitch but Kings XI's swing bowlers dealt too many blows at the start of the chase. Some late hitting got Daredevils close, but they had lost too much ground with all the early wickets.
Adam Gilchrist showed more signs of finding some touch with 42 off 26 in a 60-run opening stand with Shaun Marsh that came in 7.3 overs. Daredevils opened with Irfan Pathan and Siddarth Kaul ahead of the quicker Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel. While the pair managed swing, Irfan ended too far outside off, as did Ashish Nehra later, and Kaul provided width either side for Gilchrist to indulge in several clean hits over the infield.
Morkel created a chance in his first over, the third of the innings, but Yadav at third man put down a slash from Gilchrist, then on 8. Realising that the pitch alone would not do it for them, Daredevils started varying their pace and tightened their lines. Irfan caught a Gilchrist skier off his own bowling, and the innings lost bite.
Marsh began to struggle to get the slower ones away, and Azhar Mahmood could not get going as well. Umesh Yadav proved difficult to target initially with his pace and full lengths. The first 7.3 overs had produced 60, the next 7.3 generated 43. It was two edged fours from Marsh off Yadav that began the final push in the 16th.
David Miller had arrived in the 12th at Mahmood's exit, and had sized up the bounce and pace of the pitch by now. He started swinging sixes between deep midwicket and long-off. R Sathish chipped in with 22 off 13 and Miller ended on 44 off 24 as 62 came from overs 16 to 19. Nehra recovered to bowl a tight final over, but the damage had been done.
Kings XI had one quick bowler less, but Praveen Kumar and Sandeep Sharma had lots of swing, and lots of control. Praveen handed Unmukt Chand another failure with a big inswinger. Sandeep had Irfan chasing a wide outswinger, and ripped one away from David Warner next ball to have him edge tamely to first slip.
At 12 for 3, Daredevils looked to Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene. Sehwag struck a few but edged behind in trying to force a good length ball off the back foot. Jayawardene's was a lucky and largely laborious innings. He was put down a couple of times and plodded to 16 off 30 before getting a few off the middle.
Ben Rohrer threatened to do the improbable with 49 off 29 as he went after Mahmood in the penultimate over. Piyush Chawla still had 21 to defend off the final over. He bowled Rohrer first ball with the quick seamer he's developed, and despite a couple of sixes from Morkel, that was it for Daredevils.
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo