Marsh, Mascarenhas inspire Punjab win
Shaun Marsh powered the Kings XI Punjab to their first win in the fifth edition of the IPL competition, a victory by seven wickets over the Pune Warriors, at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Thursday.
Pune scored 115 in nineteen overs, and Punjab reached their target for the loss of three wickets, in 17.4 overs.
Marsh scored an undefeated 64 off 54 balls, with seven fours and a six for Punjab.
He featured in a 50-run partnership for the second wicket with his captain, Adam Gilchrist, off 47 balls, and in a 45-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Piyush Chawla off 36 balls.
Chawla finished undefeated on 21 off 24 balls, with three fours.
Arguably the biggest hero for Punjab was their fast bowler Dimitri Mascarenhas, whose five-wicket haul restricted Pune to 115 after they were sent in to take first strike.
He captured 5-25 in four overs. Harmeet Singh finished with 2-23 in three overs and Chawla took 1-23 in four overs.
The Kings XI Punjab suffered an early blow in pursuit of 116 runs for victory when Paul Valthaty was bowled by Pune fast bowling sensation Ashok Dinda for a first-ball duck.
Gilchrist and the in-form Marsh then combined forces and added fifty runs off 47 deliveries for the second wicket as Punjab reached 50 in 7.5 overs.
Marsh played a series of stunning cover drives, while Gilchrist showed some of his former glorious touches square of the wicket.
But soon thereafter, the Kings XI captain was brilliantly caught at point by an acrobatic Steve Smith off Angelo Matthews. He made 21 off fifteen balls, with two boundaries.
Mandeep Singh attempted an ambitious pull-shot off a shorter Bipul Sharma delivery and was caught at cover by Smith for ten.
Chawla was sent in to accelerate the run-rate and to rattle the spinners, and although he played a useful cameo, it was Marsh who was the central figure in a very useful batting display by the hosts.
Marsh played a measured innings and used his feet well against the spinners and the fast bowlers. A feature of his innings was his excellent timing.
If the Pune Warriors wanted a victory, they had to hang onto their chances after their moderate total, but they spilled a vital chance when Marsh, on 41, was dropped by Manish Pandey near the long-off boundary off Ashish Nehra.
Sharma took 1-17 in three overs and Matthews finished with 1-20 from three overs.
Earlier, Pune started off shakily, with opener Jesse Ryder run out for seven.
Mascarenhas’s double-strike in the sixth over put the hosts in the ascendancy. He had Sourav Ganguly caught at point by Marsh for sixteen, then nipped one away off the seam to Marlon Samuels, who played down the wrong line and was comprehensively bowled for two.
The Warriors had slipped to 29 for three, then Angelo Matthews was trapped in front by Harmeet Singh for eleven.
Robin Uthappa looked capable of steadying the innings, but poor shot selection contributed to his dismissal. Attempting to muscle Mascarenhas over the midwicket-boundary, he holed out to Bipul Sharma for 17 in the 13th over as Pune slipped to 79-5.
Smith perished in the 16th over when he attempted to thump the legspinner Chawla and dragged it on as Pune were reduced to 99-6. Smith managed only 13.
The seaming wicket was certainly a factor, but Pune committed the unpardonable sin of not batting out their full twenty overs.
Mithun Manhas was their chief culprit, because he had 31 off 28 balls in the 18th over when he attempted an agricultural shot off Mascarenhas and was bowled.
Mascarenhas had Sharma caught in the deep for two in the same over, and Pune were in dire straits on 110-9.
PUNE WARRIORS: Sourva Ganguly (capt), Manish Pundey, Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa, Mithun Manhas, Steven Smith, Marlon Samuels, Rahul Sharma, Angelo Mathews, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – Adam Gilchrist (capt, wk), Paul Valthaty, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Abhishek Nayar, David Hussey, Mandeep Singh, Bipul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Shaun Marsh, Praveen Kumar, Harmeet Singh