If you wanted to see how diverse Twenty20 games get, you should have got yourself a ticket to the double-header in Mohali on Friday. First the Barbados Tridents and Cape Cobras played out a Super Over thriller
, after which Kings XI Punjab walloped Northern Knights by 120 runs - the biggest win in six seasons of the CLT20 - to storm into the semi-finals.
Kings XI lived up to their billing as a bunch of power-hitters as batsman after batsman clouted boundary after boundary to run up a total of 215. The openers Manan Vohra
and Virender Sehwag
set the tone with a high-octane 102-run stand, with David Miller
rounding off the innings with an 18-ball 40. Knights' biggest strength was their new-ball opening pair, but Trent Boult and Tim Southee had combined figures of 8-0-93-0 on the day.
In the face of a massive target, Knights' batting rolled over for 95. Only someone desperate to "take the positive out of it" would point to it being a marginal improvement over the 92 Knights folded for in their previous game. Knights captain Daniel Flynn was more forthright, "We got found out today," was his assessment.
At no stage of the game were Kings XI second best. Vohra began with successive boundaries in the first over, showing the same irresistable form that has fetched him ten scores of 25 or more in the 11 innings since he got his chance midway through the IPL season. All through, he has shown that he isn't fazed by the quality of the opposition bowlers, and today was no different as Boult and Southee couldn't find a way past his made-for-Twenty20 batting.
Vohra outpaced Sehwag during their stand and Kings XI's run-rate never dipped below 10. Sehwag revealed he had promised to give Vohra one of his bats if the 21-year-old hit a century. Vohra was zooming towards the mark, with consecutive sixes off Ish Sodhi taking him to 65 as early as the ninth over. The third ball was short, and seemed set to go over the rope once more, but Vohra picked out deep midwicket. After the game, Sehwag hoped Vohra would get the bat next match.
There was a brief lull after that wicket, but Sehwag powered on to his half-century before Miller took over. He caned Scott Styris for 19 in the penultimate over to bring up the 200 as Kings XI showed that even with Glenn Maxwell, Thisara Perera and George Bailey only making small contributions they could still post a mammoth total. "We ticked off the KPIs (key performance indicators) as a batting group," Bailey said.
Knights never looked like they had the necessary firepower for the chase, even with the inclusion of an extra batsman in Daniel Harris. What slim chances they had became even slimmer once Kane Williamson departed attempting a ramp shot, and Anton Devcich was caught off a reverse-sweep. Maxwell's direct hit ran out the experienced Styris, before the spinners took over on a surface providing them a little help. Legspinner Karanveer Singh
picked up four as Knights' lower order keeled over without a fight, leaving them with a horrendous net run-rate which virtually rules them out of the semi-final race.