Deepankar Kaur | cricket20
The Kings XI Punjab kept their faint hopes of reaching the IPL play offs alive thanks to a 29 run victory over the Delhi DareDevils at the picturesque HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
Paul Valthaty and Shaun Marsh set up the victory with a 2nd wicket stand of 102 to help the Kings XI record a total of 171-6 after they were put into bat by DareDevils skipper James Hopes.
The pair played a vital role after the Kings XI had got off to a slow start, losing skipper Adam Gilchrist (9) in just the 4th over after he was caught by David Warner off the bowling of Morne Morkel.
Faced with a tricky run chase the DareDevils got off to a good start thanks to David Warner and Naman Ojha who shared an opening stand of 52 to keep the game in the balance.
With the partnership building Shalabh Srivastava struck to remove Ojha (28) at the end of the 8th over after the batsman edged a full length delivery through to wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist.
Warner (29) quickly followed two overs after he was caught by Gilchrist to give the impressive Srivastava his second wicket of the night to leave the DareDevils 67-2 at the end of the 10th over.
With the openers gone Piyush Chawla made further inroads, removing Sridharan Sriram (4) and Venugopal Rao (16) in quick succession to hand the advantage to the home side.
With the top order faltering the DareDevils quickly collapsed to a heavy defeat after they were restricted to total of 141-8 to leave them propping up the group standing with a tournament leading nine defeats.
Having seen his form disappear after a sensational start, Valthaty lead the way with a wonderful half century which saw him take the orange cap from Chris Gayle as the tournaments leading run scorer.
Valthaty smashed 6 fours and 3 sixes during his time at the crease which saw him score 62 runs from just 50 deliveries to regain his form after he had suffered a disappointing time with the bat during the Kings XI previous four games.
Marsh (47) played the perfect supporting role until he dispatched Sridharan Sriram for 25 runs in the 13th over to give the Kings XI the edge until Irfan Pathan struck back for the DareDevils.
With the partnership passing the century mark, Pathan made break brak through to remove Marsh and Valthaty in consecutive deliveries at the start of the 15th over to halt the Kings XI charge.
Despite losing David Hussey (3) soon after Mandeep Singh and Dinesh Karthik quickly added 18 runs during a 5th wicket stand which was ended by the impressive Pathan in the penultimate over after he bowled Singh (11).
With the innings drawing to a close Karthik (27) added to more vital boundaries in the final over before he was dismissed by Aavishkar Salvi to leave the DareDevils facing a run chase of 172.