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Valthaty does a Midas

Don't shake hands with Paul Valthaty any time soon. You might turn to gold. He followed up his century in the previous game by surprising everybody with his split-finger slower balls, in the Dilhara Fernando mould, taking 4 for 29, the best figures by any Kings XI Punjab bowler, and then - with a 47-ball 75 - making mockery of a target he had himself kept down to 165.

Valthaty didn't get a chance to finish a hat-trick: the wickets came off the last two deliveries of the 19th over. However, he would get a chance to make the match his own when opening the innings. And how he owned the game. Carrying the confidence that he could do no wrong, Valthaty upper-cut and flicked Dale Steyn, then cut Ishant Sharma for a six, and took Manpreet Gony merciless hitting in the fifth over that went for 23 runs.

In that one over, Valthaty did everything to suggest a batsman there is nothing he cannot do. He judged a shortish delivery early, and pulled. He lofted a delivery of similar length over mid-off. He danced down the track to hit a six over long-off. He drove wide of the fielder once long-off went back. He drove a near-yorker past point for four. Adam Gilchrist, one of the cleanest hitters the game has seen, was a mere admirer. At 59 for 0 after five, the game was all but over.

Gilchrist wasn't to be left behind, though. Soon he was hitting Gony for the longest six of the tournament so far, soon he was pipping Valthaty to the fifty, bringing it up in 30 balls. Valthaty was 46 off 29 then. More clean hitting followed. Valthaty brought up his fifty with a six over long-off, and then hit another to overtake his captain. Gilchrist finally fell for 61, walking back to a hearty applause for his former home crowd, but Valthaty stayed back, becoming the joint-highest run-getter before finally getting out after having scored 195 runs between dismissals.