Glenn Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha, with a quick fire 71-run stand for the fourth wicket, helped Punjab recover from a sluggish start to edge past Kolkata by 14 runs in the Indian Twenty20 competition at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Kolkata won the toss and opted to bowl first on a surface where the ball deviated just about enough to keep the medium-pacers interested. The movement made life difficult for Punjab's top order without Hashim Amla and David Miller, out for national duty. The home side limped to 63 for 3 in the first half. They went 17 deliveries without a boundary after Shaun Marsh' dismissal in the ninth over. Maxwell began cautiously and went boundary less for two overs, before switching gears, in the 12th over, by smashing Colin de Grandhomme for two sixes. Saha, on 10 off 17 at one stage, pinched crucial boundaries to move to a run-a-ball 26. Maxwell thumped four sixes and one four in his 25-ball 44, while Saha added 38 off 33.
The duo scored at 10.14 runs an over in the seven overs that they batted together. Maxwell's departure in the 16th over and Saha's two-overs later restricted Punjab to a respectable 167. However, Rahul Tewatia, playing his first game this season, Axar Patel and Mohit Sharma helped their side defend the total and in turn kept Punjab's hopes of making the playoffs alive.