IPL 2016 has seen the most consistent side in IPL been broken and the nucleus players finding a place for themselves primarily in 2 sides i.e. Rajkot and Pune. The latter being the side of much due publicity with the Indian captain in MS Dhoni leading the side and star presence of Petersen, Du Plessis, Ashwin and Rahane makes it one of the strongest side in the tournament thus far.

Kings XI Punjab vs Rising Pune Supergiants
Date 17 Apr 2016
Venue Punjab Cricket Association Stadium
153/4 (18.4)   152/7 (20)
Kings XI won by 6 wickets

Suggested read: Royal Challengers vs Daredevils: Match Highlights

Having said which, their last match against Rajkot can only be termed as disappointing and a big blow to Pune being seen as better of the 2 sides, having majority of the star players from their last year’s now abolished, Chennai Super Kings.

Thus, Pune’s today match vs Kings XI Punjab became all the more crucial as they aimed at 2 wins from their 3 games. Similarly, Kings XI Punjab had all to play for – to start off their IPL 2016 campaign, being winless thus far.

Pune won the toss and elected to bat first. They got off to a slow start, losing Rahane in the 3rd over to a good delivery by Sandeep Sharma, Pune found itself at 10/1 after 2.1 overs. In came the much controversial but loved English cricketer, Kevin Petersen to bat with Faf Du Plessis.

Pune won the toss and elected to bat first.

The two looked confident at the pitch, with Du Plessis taking bulk of the strike and runs were starting to flow, at which point Petersen – who never really showed his true presence at the pitch was dismissed on an average delivery by Abbott, who prior to getting Petersen’s wicket was looking visibly uncomfortable bowling to his South African team mate, Faf Du Plessis who attempted a dil-scoop thrice in the same year (having 1 successful attempt). Jeez, playing a dil-scoop at 145kmph, talk about modern day cricketing strokes!

RPS ended with 152/7 (20)

The Pune’s innings can be best summed up by Du Plessi’s solid stay at the crease, guiding the team to a modest 152, which in these batting conditions and under cooler evening climate; wasn’t going to be an easy task for Pune bowlers to defend. Smith’s 38 came at a crucial time but not necessarily at a rapid pace as he faced 26 deliveries for the same; which in death overs of an innings in an T20 game isn’t a game turning batting performance but then Smith has never been able to translate his test form into t20’s and this innings may give him the confidence needed to score big at quick pace in coming matches.

In reply, Kings XI Punjab got off to a scintillating start – 80/0 in the first 10 overs, maintaining a run rate of 8.00 per over, which was above the required run rate. The surprising aspect was that among the 2 openers; Vohra became the aggressor and Vijay looked to occupy the crease and let Vohra take charge – which was visible making Vohra more confident to aim for scoring quick runs.

Kings XI Punjab got off to a scintillating start – 80/0 in the first 10 overs, maintaining a run rate of 8.00 per over

At this stage, Kings XI Punjab required only 60 runs from 51 balls and it was fair to state that should Kings XI lose this match; it’ll be because of their extreme unawareness of seizing the opportunity for they found themselves in a match winning situation; a loss from here meant that Kings XI gave way the match to Pune.

But as they say in cricket; it’s not over until it’s actually over. Whenever Dhoni is involved, you cannot rule out the possibility of the match going down to the wire.

Whenever Dhoni is involved, you cannot rule out the possibility of the match going down to the wire.

The 12th over from newbie Ankit Sharma saw the first breakthrough for Pune, dismissing Vohra after he reached his well made fifty. Soon followed the wicket of Marsh and nervousness started to take grip of the Kings XI’s run chase.

Things went from bad to worse as from over 14th to 16.2, Kings XI only managed to make 17 runs and lost 2 wickets – the well settled Vijay and their captain in David Miller.

In came the man that Punjab has accepted as perhaps one of it’s own – Glenn Maxwell, the hard hitting explosive batsman from Australia and it would be an understatement to say that in a situation wherein Kings XI required the big hits, he could provide the goods.

In the 16th over, M Ashwin’s last 2 deliveries were smashed for a four followed by a six, Maxwell introduced himself into the IPL 2016. The next over (again by Ashwin, this time R Ashwin) saw similar hitting with the 3rd and the 4th delivery going for a four which was followed by a six – Maxwell was snatching the match away from Pune.

Glenn Maxwell was snatching the match away from Pune

With 2 overs to go, Kings XI required another 9 runs to win and Maxwell knew that for a match that had so much at stake for his team; with it possibly turning into their first win this season – strecthcing it to the last over would be a dangerous thing to do (hint : Dhoni captain, Bangladesh match, Mahmuddulah couldn’t make 1 off 3).

At one stage it looked as if Dhoni’s men had done enough to squeeze another victory.

On the first delivery of the over, Saha rightly gave the strike to Maxwell, who without wasting any time ran a double on the next 2 deliveries and smashed a four on the 4th delivery of the over – proving his skills of being a match winner, seizing the opportunity and winning the 1st game of the season for Kings XI. At one stage it looked as if Dhoni’s men had done enough to squeeze another victory from a losing situation but when Maxwell strikes – he truly does snatch away the game from the opposition and today was no different.

When Maxwell strikes – he truly does snatch away the game from the opposition and today was no different

Looking at the match from Pune’s perspective – this has to be called as the greatest upset of the tournament thus far for Pune went into the match as the favorites to win and this loss comes at a time when Pune badly needed a win to be 2 wins out of 3 games and be in the top 4 but it wasn’t to be.

Surely, Pune has a few things to evaluate and Kings XI can be proud of the way it’s openers played and the finishing touches by the Punjabi munda, Glenn Maxwell.

Kings XI won by 6 wickets

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