Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yuvraj pulls of thriller in superover

What Yuvraj Singh hadn’t achieved in the last three matches, he achieved in the third ball of the superover — a nerve-wracking victory for the Kings XI Punjab with a reverse sweep to the third-man boundary against in-form Muttiah Muralitharan. In the most riveting match of the tournament so far, Kings XI Punjab needed 10 runs in the superover for their first victory.

First ball, Mahela Jayawardene put on his dancing shoes, stepped out to Murali and launched him over long-on for a six. Second ball, he tried a similar shot in an attempt to finish the match but was held on the edge of the long-on boundary by Murali Vijay.

With just one wicket in hand and four runs needed off four balls, Murali produced a dot ball. The pressure was almost choking Yuvraj but he mustered enough courage and played a delicate reverse sweep on the fourth ball to carve out a winning boundary.

Earlier, Chennai could only manage nine runs in their Super Over bowled by debutant Juan Theron and lost both their wickets in the form of Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina. Hayden, using his Mongoose bat for the over, coulnd't connect the first ball he faced and was castled before Raina added two runs and a six before perishing.

Before Superover, Chennai Super Kings were cruising towards their target until Punjab turned the tides and caused panic in the home team, who needing 10 runs from the last over in regulation time, choked to tie the match. Irfan Pathan began the over by giving a boundary away, but came back strongly and finished with two dot balls to give Punjab a life.

Chennai began their chase in commanding style, with openers Matthew Hayden and Parthiv Patel milking the Punjab bowlers. Hayden was bowled by Ramesh Powar after racing to 33 but the contest remained one-sided as the pair had already added 65 for the first wicket.

While Patel continued to bring up a composed half-century, he kept losing partners. Suresh Raina was run out for 15 while Murali Vijay and S Badrinath fell in quick succession to let Punjab in with a chance. Panic crept in when Patel departed in the 18th over, and the unavailability of Justin Kemp - who bowled a ball and walked off with an injury - hurt the team.

Manpreet Gony perished for a wild slog while Morkel and R Ashwin couldn't find the boundaries. Juan Theron conceded just one run in the penultimate over before Irfan stopped them with scores tied.

Chennai were unable to capitalise on a splendid bowling effort led by Muttiah Muralitharan, who bowled a magnificent spell of 3-16 to help them restrict Punjab to a modest 136-8.

The Sri Lankan off-spinner snared Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Mohammad Kaif and never let the Punjab batsmen get away after Suresh Raina won the toss and elected to bowl. Yuvraj Singh accelerated in the end with a fine 43.

Punjab promoted Irfan Pathan to open the innings and didn't disappoint, scoring a brisk 39 after the dismissal of his partner Ravi Bopara for one. But Punjab continued to suffer from their middle order woes, with Sangakkara being outclassed by Murali for 15, before Pathan was bowled by Laxmipathy Balaji.

Yuvraj helped the team to a respectable total, but lost his partners at crucial junctures. Mahela Jayawardene was trapped in front for three while Mohammad Kaif departed in an attempt to get boundaries.

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