Marsh leads nine-wicket mauling

Mohali, May 13:

Kings XI Punjab mauled bottom-placed Bangalore Royal Challengers by nine-wicket to leave the second-most expensive franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) all but out of the semi-finals.

Bangalore’s batsmen once again failed to fire, and after they were restricted to 143, the chase was a mere formality. Shaun Marsh, though, didn’t show any mercy on a hapless opposition, and his not out 74 completed the nine-wicket win, pushing his team to second place.

After Rahul Dravid, an under-pressure Bangalore captain, decided to bat, Misbah-ul-Haq and Virat Kohli gave a glimmer of hope that the side’s top-order woes had come to an end. But both failed to capitalise on their starts. Dravid once again was unable to improvise as required in the Twenty20 format, and his 29 will do little to silence the critics. Punjab’s bowlers were largely right on the mark at the end.

Bangalore needed to strike early to put pressure on Punjab, but the Australian dup of Shaun Marsh and James Hopes got the home side off to a confident start. With his unbeaten 74, Marsh now has an average of 98.33 in the IPL, and if he continues in the same vein, a semi-final slot shouldn’t be a headache for Punjab, who are already sitting pretty at 12 points.