League leaders Kings XI Punjab maintained their dominance with a 16-run win over Rajasthan Royals while Mumbai Indians stayed in the hunt for a playoff place by winning their must-win encounter against last-placed Delhi Daredevils by 15 runs in yesterday's IPL matches.
In the evening match at Mohali, Punjab put on an ensemble batting performance to rack up 179 for four, with as many as five players scoring 25 or more. In reply, despite a late flurry of sixes from James Faulkner, Rajasthan could score only 163 for the loss of eight wickets.
Led by Shaun Marsh's 40 at the top of the order and some late blows from David Miller (29 off 20 balls) and George Bailey (26 off 18 balls), Punjab's innings was built on a series of effective partnerships. Openers Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra raced to 24 before Sehwag was caqught off Faulkner for an 8-ball 18. After Vohra's run-out with the score on 54 in the seventh over, Marsh shared a 59-run partnership with Wriddhiman Saha before both departed within six runs of each other. From 119 for four in the 15th over Bailey and Miller hammered 60 runs off the last 5.2 overs.
After a reasonable start from openers Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair and number three Sanju Samson took Rajasthan's chase to 56 for one in the ninth over, Rishi Dhawan took two wickets in two balls, bowling Rahane and Shane Watson. Then slow-left-armer Akshar Patel and leg-spinner Karanveer Singh tightened the screws, the former dispatching Rahul Tewatia, Brad Hodge and Kevon Cooper while the latter accounted for Samson and Stuart Binny. Faulkner hit a 13-ball 35 which included two sixes in the last over, off which 31 were needed, but the innings served only to reduce the margin of defeat.
In the day's first match in Mumbai, after squandering an electrifying start given by openers Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons the home team lost the plot as their last eight wickets fell for 33 runs to be all out for 173. However, Delhi could only manage 158 in the end despite gutsy efforts from JP Duminy and Manoj Tiwary.
Daredevils began the run chase in very encouraging fashion with skipper Kevin Pietersen (44 in 31 balls) leading the way in his inimitable style as he put on 43 runs for the opening wicket with a subdued Murali Vijay. Pietersen lashed six fours and a six but the switch hit led to his doom as Harbhajan Singh came around the wicket and bowled him.
After the two openers departed and Dinesh Karthik fell cheaply it was left to their leading run getter Duminy (45 not out in 29 balls) and Tiwary (41 in 31 balls) to lead the charge with a partnership of 85 in 54 balls. But the target became a bit too distant and Daredevils suffered their eighth straight defeat and 11th in 13 games.
SCORES IN BRIEF
MUMBAI: 173 all out in 19.3 overs (M Hussey 56, Simmons 35; Tahir 3-37, Unadkat 2-24). DELHI: 158 for 4 in 20 overs (Duminy 45 not out, Pietersen 44, Tiwary 41; De Lange 2-32).
Result: Mumbai won by 15 runs.
PUNJAB: 179 for 4 (Marsh 40, Miller 29 not out, Saha 27; Tewatia 1-24). RAJASTHAN: 163 for 8 (Faulkner 35 not out, Hodge 31, Samson 30; Patel 3-24, Singh 2-16)
Result: Punjab won by 16 runs