Deepankar Kaur | cricket20
Kevin Pietersen scored a wonderful half century to steer the Royal Challengers to a convincing 6 wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab to move into second place in the IPL group table.
Having been set a target of 182 for victory the Royal Challengers started off slowly losing the key wicket of Jacques Kallis (9) at the start of the forth over as the Kings XI gained the upper hand.
Manish Pandey (29) soon followed after he was run out by Bipul Sharma reducing the visitors to 54-2 to give the Kings XI an excellent chance of victory.
The arrival of Kevin Pietersen at the crease changed the course of the game as the Englishman built a 3rd wicket partnership of 76 with Virat Kohli (42) as the visitors forced their way back into the game.
The momentum truly turned in the favor of the Royal Challengers in the 16th over after Brett Lee conceded 25 runs to leave then on course for their seventh defeat as their hope of reaching the knock out stages were left hanging by a thread.
Although the Kings XI picked up the wicket of Robin Uthappa (22) in the 18th over the Royal Challengers were on course for victory to leave the home side looking back on a game which they should, and needed to have won.
Having won the toss the Kings XI decided to bat first but they suffered yet another poor start as Shaun Marsh (2), who scored 57 against the Mumbai Indians on Tuesday was caught by Rahul Dravid in the slips to give Vinay Kumar the breakthrough in just the second over.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara came to the crease at number three and played a masterful innings scoring 45 supported by Manvinder Bisla (28) as they built a second wicket partnership of 63.
Sangakkara was caught by Kallis at deep square leg at the start of the 11th over to reduce the Kings XI to 84-3. Despuite the slow start the home side still had 7 wickets in hand as Yuvraj and Bopara built an important 4th wicket partnership.
The pair increased the scoring rate building a 50 run partnership from just 32 balls as Yuvraj attacked the Royal Challengers bowlers smashing Kallis and Anil Kumble for huge sixes over deep mid wicket as the Kings XI.
Yuvraj (36) continued his excellent innings until he was caught by Cameron White out on the boundary giving Kallis the important break though with 3 overs remain.
Irfan Pathan (16) joined Bopara (42) at the crease to face the last 14 balls of the innings to help the Kings XI reach 181-5 which included 15 runs from the last over to finish the inning with a competitive score.