Kings XI Punjab 139 for 3 (Saha 42*, Peterson 2-19) beat Cape Cobras 135 (Levi 42, Amla 40, Anureet 3-12, Akshar 3-22) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A late batting collapse in the Cape Cobras innings, triggered by career-best spells from Akshar Patel and Anureet Singh, helped Kings XI Punjab overcome an early blitz from Hashim Amla. Their batsmen then comfortably overhauled the middling target to make it four wins in four, ensuring the team finished at the top of the Group B table.
The pitch had been sluggish in the afternoon during the game between Barbados Tridents and Hobart Hurricanes and that had forced the groundsman to water the surface before the start of the match. One cannot be certain if the way Cobras started their innings was a result of that or the brilliance of one man. Amla saw his partner Richard Levi pick up two fours and a six in the first two overs - all poor deliveries - before spreading his wings.
Amla greeted Kings XI's best bowler, Akshar Patel, with a rasping cut shot in the third over and followed it up with two inside-out boundaries in the next over - one of them going all the way over the ropes. Thirteen runs came off the fourth over but it just happened to be the trailer. In the fifth over, Amla launched into Thisara Perera, picking up five consecutive boundaries and taking the team well past 50 in the process.
But the innings took a different turn once Amla holed out at long off to Karanveer Singh's legspin. The ball started gripping and stopping on the pitch again. Levi continued for a bit, finding the odd big hit and taking the team past 100 in the 13th over, before the wheels came off.
The next seven wickets, after Levi was dismissed, could only last for 33 more balls and only 30 runs were added in that period. Three of those wickets went to the impressive Akshar, who was also economical, giving away just two fours in his spell, and the other three to Anureet. Both also had to thank the agility of their wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha who affected two stumpings off Akshar and took a brilliant diving catch off Anureet.
The target of 136 was going to be hard to defend against the Kings XI batting line-up. They had been prolific during the IPL and they have been similarly ruthless in the Champions League this year. Their lowest total - 146 - came from 17.4 overs. So Cobras' best bet was to pick early wickets. But that never happened. Apart from Robin Peterson, who picked up the wickets of Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra, none of the bowlers exerted any control over the batsmen and, with no real weak spot in their batting order, the run rate never dipped during any of the partnerships.
Sehwag and Vohra added 41 for the opening wicket, Saha joined Sehwag to add another 33. Once Sehwag was dismissed, Saha added 34 with Glenn Maxwell and paired with David Miller to take Kings XI over the line.