Vijay, Vohra fifties give Kings XI first win
Kings XI Punjab 153 for 4 (Vijay 53, Vohra 51, Maxwell 32*, M Ashwin 3-36) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 152 for 7 (du Plessis 67, Smith 38, Mohit 3-23) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Half-centuries from openers M Vijay and Manan Vohra gave Kings XI Punjab their first win of the IPL season after their bowlers had kept Rising Pune Supergiants to 152 in good batting conditions. There were a few hiccups towards the end, when the legspinner M Ashwin took three wickets in the space of eight balls, but Glenn Maxwell calmed Kings XI's nerves with an unbeaten 14-ball 32 and took them home with eight balls remaining.
In a clash between two good batting sides with suspect bowling attacks, the difference came down to small things. Kings XI's bowlers made the batsmen work harder than their Supergiants counterparts did, with Ishant Sharma and Thisara Perera particularly prone to sending down freebies.
The toss was important, though not in the way MS Dhoni might have expected when he chose to bat first. He wanted his bowlers and fielders to escape the worst of the afternoon heat, but that left his top order braving temperatures in the mid-30s.
It told on Faf du Plessis, who tired visibly as his innings wore on. He began brightly, but struggled to find the boundary when the fields spread, with the Kings XI bowlers making a concerted effort to make him hit towards the long square boundary on one side of the pitch. Having hit six fours off the first 20 balls of his innings, he only hit two more off the last 33 to finish with 67 off 53 balls.
Du Plessis' innings ended in the final over of the Supergiants innings, when he miscued a Mohit Sharma slower ball, hitting it high in the air for the bowler to complete a well-judged return catch. Mohit's slower ball had also removed Supergiants' second-highest scorer, Steven Smith, in the 18th over. There was a bit of grip available on a Mohali surface that was drier than it looked, and bounce too, and Mohit exploited both expertly with his back-of-the-hand release, causing the two well-set batsmen to hit the ball earlier than desired, and off the high part of the bat. Mohit finished with figures of 3 for 23, and gave away only 11 runs off his two overs in the slog.
Kings XI's other seam-bowling Sharma, Sandeep, was also effective, bowling stump-to-stump and getting a bit of movement, usually into the right-hander, to finish with figures of 2 for 23.
The two Sharmas were primarily responsible, in the end, for keeping Supergiants down to 152. It was at least 10 runs short of the total they may have expected when they were 76 for 2 at the halfway stage.
Vijay gave Kings XI the early impetus their chase needed, stepping out of his crease to hit Ankit Sharma's left-arm spin over the top for two fours in the second over. He did the same to Ishant Sharma in the next over, giving himself room and launching him over extra cover for the first six of the match. Supergiants' total of 152, incidentally, was the highest among IPL innings that did not include a six.
Vohra joined the boundary-hitting spree with three successive fours off Ishant in the fifth over. He would hit three successive fours off Perera too, in the 11th over, and the bulk of these six fours came off bad balls - short, wide, or both. There was only one other boundary in Vohra's 33-ball 51.
The openers put on 97 before Vohra fell, missing the sweep off a straight ball from Ankit. M Ashwin then caused a bit of a wobble, as Marsh and Miller perished to uncertain strokes against his legspin and Vijay top-edged him, trying to cut one that wasn't short enough for the stroke.
Maxwell quickly settled Kings XI's nerves, taking 10 off successive balls from M Ashwin, and repeating the dose against R Ashwin in the next over. He had come into the match with scores of 2 and 0 in his last two innings; this was a welcome return to form.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo