Mohali: A cracking knock from Glenn Maxwell helped Kings XI Punjab overcome a poor start to their chase and win the battle of first-timers against Hobart Hurricanes by five wickets in the Champions League T20 here Thursday. (Highlights| Scorecard)
Kings were reduced to 51 for four in their chase of 145 before Maxwell hammered 43 runs off 25 balls to turn things around for the home team.
Thereafter, captain George Bailey (34 runs of 27 balls) and Thisara Perera (35 off 20) shared a blistering 69-run stand to make short work of the target in 17.4 overs.
Hurricanes, who made their tournament debut alongside Kings, recovered to make 144 for six after Bailey won the toss and decided to put the opposition in.
Kings had a disastrous start to their chase with Virender Sehwag caught at third man off the bowling of Doug Bollinger (2/30) on the very first ball of the innings.
The hosts, studded with international stars, were expected to chase down the target easily but the Hurricanes bowlers dashed that expectation by making the opposition batsmen uncomfortable through sheer pace.
Wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha (11) joined Manan Vohra at the crease after Sehwag's failure. He could not negotiate the serious pace for long and scooped a simple catch to Shoaib Malik at mid-on.
Ben Hilfenhaus (1/30) was equally effective from the other end and took the important wicket of David Miller (0) to leave Kings reeling at 23 for three in the fourth over. The left-handed batsman from South Africa went for the big shot straight away only to be caught at mid-off.
Soon after Vohra's lacklustre innings came to an end, making it 51 for four in 7.3 overs.
Kings' hopes were now pinned on their dangerous overseas player Maxwell and he did not disappoint. He instantly made his presence felt in the middle by hammering fellow Australian Bollinger for a straight six.
Maxwell, one of the stars of IPL 7, went on to smash four boundaries and another maximum in his blazing knock.
The Kings camp knew they would be home if the 'big show' stayed on a little longer. His sudden departure however tilted the game in favour of Hurricanes again. Maxwell attempted to whack another one out of the park over mid-wicket but ended up edging it to the wicketkeeper off medium pacer Evon Gulbis.
The hosts still needed 68 runs off 54 balls. It was down to skipper Bailey and Perera to get their team over the line and the experienced pair eventually managed to do that with little difficulty. Their 69-run partnership came off just 41 balls.
Earlier, Kings put up an impressive bowling effort. Left-arm spinner Akshar Patel (1/20) along with seamers Parvinder Awana (1/25) and Thisara Perera (2/17) made life tough for the opposition batsmen.
However, a 52-run stand from Travis Birt (28 runs off 21 balls) and Jonathan Wells (28 off 18) helped Hurricanes post a competitive total on a two-paced surface.
Kings were on the money right away after putting the opposition in to bat.
The successful opening pair of Ben Dunk and Tim Paine in the Big Bash back home struggled for runs. Patel, who had played a key role in helping the Kings reach the IPL 7 final, provided the first breakthrough by finding the stumps of Hurricanes skipper Paine (11) with a fast straighter one.
Dunk's dismissal for 25 made it 43 for two in eight overs. The southpaw went for a big one off Perera but his mistimed hit found the safe hands of Glenn Maxwell at deep cover.
Aiden Blizzard (27 off 18) then hit some lusty blows to give the innings a push before getting caught in the deep at a wrong time. Hurricanes were in further trouble with their experienced foreign recruit Malik (14) departing to leave visitors at 78 for four in the 13th over.
The Pakistani all-rounder tried to smack leg-spinner Karanveer Singh on one knee but could only manage to find Kings captain Bailey at midwicket.
Birt and Wells then forged a vital stand to bail the team out of trouble. While Wells enthralled the sparse Mohali crowd with some pure cricketing shots, Birt displayed brute force.
Birt took a particular liking to Karanveer, smashing him for two sixes in one over. Just when they were looking more dangerous, Wells was run out. Birt fell on the penultimate ball of the innings but his effort was enough to set up a fighting score.