MOHALI: Kings XI Punjab showed rare resilience on Sunday night when they overcame an impossible-looking 185 set by visiting Pune Warriors.
After the home team’s bowling was battered back and blue, their batsmen struck back in a grand manner to record a win that once looked so unlikely at the halfway stage.
Faced with a huge target to get at over nine runs an over, and the experienced Adam Gilchrist (3) and Azhar Mahmood (0) departed early, local lad Mandeep Singh and Manan Vohra set about resurrecting the innings.
In a brilliant run-chase, the duo not only repaired the damage but also set the stage for David Miller to launch an all-out assault on Pune’s bowling and overhaul the target with one ball and seven wickets to spare.
Mandeep (77 n.o) and David Miller (80 n.o) scored superlative half centuries and the highest successful run-chase of this edition looked all the more sweet when the latter struck two sixes in the final Luke Wright over when 16 were needed for a famous win.
But it was a forgettable outing for KXIP skipper Gilchrist, who first dropped his counterpart Aaron Finch when the batsman was on one but went on to score 64. Then Gilly lasted just three deliveries when his team were up against a formidable chase.
Buoyed by Gilchirst’s reprieve, Victorian Finch showed his prowess, as he struck his third half-century and along with Robin Uthappa gave the Pune side a solid start of 83 runs in just 10.3 overs.
The subsequent batsmen, local boy Yuvraj Singh, Steven Smith and hard-hitting Luke Wright, contributed as Pune recorded their highest total against KXIP. Wright was especially destructive as he smashed 34 off just 10 deliveries.
As the Pune batsmen went hammer and tongs, the home team’s fielding fell apart and they conceded quite a few boundaries through misfields. But Mandeep, Vohra and Miller had planned a different party of their own.