The first time Sunrisers came up against Glenn Maxwell, they were quite gracious. He was dropped once and rescued when he holed out by the bowler overstepping. The same fortune followed him when Amit Mishra looped one on leg stump, and Maxwell went for a hoick. Dale Steyn chased the mistimed shot and beat the bowler to hold onto a difficult catch. Sunrisers were envisioning a turnaround when the umpire asked the batsman to wait. The third umpire was called to check the no-ball and as it happened Mishra had messed up. Maxwell added 20 more runs before he fell, and conscious of the kind of luck he has had this season, jokingly asked the umpires to check the front foot again.
Sunrisers were trying their best to regain ground after a terrible first 10 overs. Pace off the ball seemed to be working and George Bailey was feeling the pinch. A cutter from Irfan Pathan was chosen to be dispatched down the ground. The shot seemed very forced, but it held no timing. David Warner hurtled in from long-off and dived forward to grab the ball inches off the ground. Or so it seemed. The umpires asked for a second opinion and replays usually tend to provide more confusion than clarity when such low catches are concerned. Bailey escaped with the benefit of the doubt and ended up finishing the match.
Wriddhiman Saha has been Kings XI's floater. Should an early wicket fall, he is pushed up to No. 3 to protect their big hitters down the order. Today though, he had a different mandate. And he did not sway from it even in the face of Steyn. The second ball of the second over was dug in short and the wicketkeeper-batsman shifted his balance back and pulled in front of square leg. The connection was so crisp that even Steyn's body language conceded that he was impressed. Manan Vohra took his partner's lead and biffed two sixes off the ace quick to hand him his worst T20 figures - 0 for 51.
Since his inclusion, Sandeep Sharma has used the new ball admirably for Kings XI Punjab. His nagging lines induced an outside edge from Aaron Finch in the fifth over. Glenn Maxwell ran back from point and dived full length behind him to complete a lovely catch. But Sandeep was not celebrating. His eyes were on the umpire who was signalling no-ball. So from thinking he had dismissed one of the most dangerous hitters in T20, Sandeep had to contend with the prospect of a free hit. At least, he got to bowl it to Shikhar Dhawan, who until then was in a struggle to find his timing.
Some say the prospect of a free hit liberates a batsman, especially one in a slump and Dhawan exemplified that. Sandeep chose the safe route and went full and straight, but was drilled down the ground. To make matters worse, the bowler had overstepped again. Dhawan faced up to another free hit and this time, he smoked it for six over midwicket. In his next 11 balls, he carted one more out of the park and also three fours. One was almost tempted to believe Dhawan had lured Kings XI into a false sense of security. That battering set the tone as Sandeep leaked 65 runs in his four overs - the joint second most expensive figures in IPL.
Virender Sehwag has a knack for banishing the first delivery of the match to the boundary. He inaugurated the 2011 World Cup that way and more recently, Kings XI Punjab's last three innings. A target of 206 grants all the licence he needs at the top of the order and the very next ball he loaded up to smash down the ground. Only this time he connected with the bottom of his blade and Bhuvneshwar Kumar collected a dolly of a return catch.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo