Saini, Hussey script Punjab win in Bangalore

David Hussey’s Kings XI Punjab surged to fourth place in the Indian Premier League V table with a four-wicket victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday.

No stopping: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle smashes one against Punjab yesterday. PIC/AFP

Though Punjab collapsed from 146-2 to 154-6 in a hurry, they knocked off the needed five runs in the last over off Vinay Kumar. Needing two off the last two balls, Piyush Chawla struck a six to cap off a splendid win.

Chasing 159, opener Mandeep Singh (43), Nitin Saini (50) and skipper Hussey (45) starred for the visitors before a minor collapse brought RCB back into the contest. In the penultimate over, bowled by Zaheer Khan, Punjab lost Hussey and Abhishek Nayar (2) and managed only two runs. Zaheer’s fabulous over set up an exciting final over.

Punjab’s innings was built around two major partnerships — 35 for the second-wicket between Singh and Saina, and later a crucial 73-run third-wicket stand between Saini and Hussey. Hussey’s match-winning knock was studded with four sixes and two fours.

Earlier, Chris Gayle cashed in on a dropped chance to smash a blazing 71 and help Bangalore score a competitive 158 for five. Punjab did everything right till the first half of the innings after winning the toss but script changed in the last 10 overs as they conceded 99 runs.

Led by Praveen Kumar, who bowled a sensational spell of 4-0-8-0, Punjab were brilliant in the first 10 overs as they restricted the host to 58 for one despite Gayle’s presence.

Gayle was on 39 when he was dropped by substitute David Miller in the first ball of the 13th over off Parvinder Awana. Gayle and Virat Kohli (45 off 42) shared a 118-run partnership for the second wicket to resurrect the hosts’ innings.¬†After Praveen, Azhar Mahmood (3-20) led the charge for Punjab with the ball.

Brief Scores:
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 158 for five in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 71, Virat Kohli 45; Azhar Mahmood 3-20).
Kings XI Punjab: 163 for six in 19.5 overs (Nitin Saini 50, David Hussey 45, Mandeep Singh 43; A McDonald 2-25) 

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