Hyderabad: On a day when Pune Warriors India squandered their opportunity to stay in statistical contention for a place in the play-offs, losing a one-sided game to Rajasthan Royals at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune, Kings XI Punjab ensured that they did not make the same mistake.
Squared up against the Deccan Chargers, whose campaign in IPL V was already dead in the water, the visiting team extended the Chargers' home-ground hoodoo, handing them a 25-run defeat. (Check the match in pics here)
Put in to bat, the Kings XI prospered from the word go, with India under-19 star Mandeep Singh stitching together a handy opening stand with Shaun Marsh.
Mandeep, known for his composure and ability to set the tone with attractive shots piercing the infield, reaffirmed the faith many have in him. When Marsh fell, coming down the pitch and getting himself into an awkward position, only to be bowled off his pads, the Kings XI already had 55 on the board in only the 7th over of the innings. ( Related: The all important points table)
Nitin Saini copped a rough decision, adjudged lbw by Kumar Dharmasena off Ashish Reddy when virtually all three stumps were in view as ball struck pad, but this setback was only a minor irritant.
David Hussey stabilised the innings, but his attempt to force the pace resulted in a straightforward catch for Daniel Harris at long-off and the Kings XI were in danger of faltering at 97 for 3.
Mandeep, growing from strength to strength, kept his end up, and was confident enough to lift the mediumpace of Veer Pratap Singh for a sweetly timed six over long leg. Mandeep, who also drove crisply through and over covers, was finally deceived by a slower one from Ashish Reddy, but by then he had more than done his job, galloping to 75 from only 48 balls.
A late contribution from David Miller pushed the Kings XI to 170 for 5 from 20 overs, a target that was not insurmountable by any means, but one that would require some overhauling.
As it were, the Deccan Chargers continued to flounder, with Shikhar Dhawan falling early, edging to a wide first slip. Harris, perhaps providing cricket with the first time a qualified doctor was playing for a lawyer, employed his strategy of mixing watchful defence with carefully timed attack to the tune of 30 off 29, but the Chargers needed more than that if they were to make a serious fist of the chase.
Parthiv Patel, Craig White and Kumar Sangakkara failed to fire, and at 74 for 5 the game was as good as gone. Akshath Reddy and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala delayed the inevitable, but the Chargers could only manage 145 from 20 overs, and slipped further down the ladder.