Kings XI Punjab have played this tournament in two halves; the first under David Miller as Captain and the second with Murli Vijay leading the team. And the performance has been overwhelmingly different. Te Punjab side that has come out in the last 4 matches has been much more confident with the captain leading the way. Sunrisers Hyderabad were on a 4 match winning streak but lost their previous match to the Delhi Daredevils. The match was in Mohali and the the Punjab team looking resurgent would have given the Sunrisers something to think about.
KXIP won the toss and elected to bat first. They would have started to rue their decision when their hero of previous matches, Murli Vijay departed after scoring just 6 runs, but the run machine from South Africa, Hashim Amla was in his true colours today.
Amla looked fluent and aggressive to keep his side always in sight of a big first innings score. He got good support from the other end with Saha, Gurkeerat and David Miller all chipping away with some useful runs. Amla kept going on till the 20th over but narrowly missed on a deserving century when he perished in the last over trying to hit the ball out of the park. Amla top scored for the Kings with a valiant 96 off just 56 balls as the KXIP finished the innings as one of their best performances with the bat this season with 179 runs on the board.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had a huge target of 180 to get to make sure they qualify for the playoffs with this match only. They have been heavily reliant on their openers and the Punjab bowling has been consistently good so a wicket or two early would make the things really difficult for the Sunrisers. The Sunrisers again did what they have been doing all season; the opening partnership flourished again as Warner scored yet another half century to score 52 runs from 41 balls.
The openers put together a partnership of 68 runs inside 8 overs to build a perfect platform for the following batsmen to launch. Youngster Deepak Hooda was promoted to number 3 and he did not disappoint as he scored a brisk 34 runs off 22 balls to tilt the match in Sunrisers’s favour.
From the other end, Yuvraj Singh played the decisive innings at the end with an unbeaten 42 from 24 balls to take his team over the line and straight into the qualifiers. The Sunrisers got to their target of 180 runs with 2 balls to spare.
KXIP are out of the tournament for all means but with 2 matches to go and nothing to lose, they could be a tough hurdle for the teams seeking qualification in must win matches against them. After the initial debacle, the Kings have made a decent comeback and be proud of some of their performances. Sunrisers sit pretty at the top of the table and would like to finish there only to get the advantage of an extra match.