Punjab stay alive with 1-run win

JOHANNESBURG: Punjab stay alive in IPL with the Sunday’s 1-run win over Hyderbad at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.

Chasing a moderate total of 135, Everything looked going the Hyderabad way as Rohit Sharma looked all set to see his side through. But once he was out, misjudging a Pathan slow deliver, Hyderbad lost the grip and offered a cherishing victory to Punjab by a solitary run.

Earlier, Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh (3-14 off 4 overs) came with some tight bowling that also featured his second IPL hat-trick. He sent dangerous South African Herchelle Gibbs (26), Australian Andrew Symonds (25) and out of touch V Rao (0) in successive deliveries.

Hyderabad skipper Adam Gilchrist continued his onslaught with his threatening quickfire of 23 off 13 balls that included 4 fours and 1 six. But spinner Ramesh Power got his side rid of Gilchrist on time, packing off TS Suman the next delivery. Yuvraj then dealt Hyderabad a big blow by getting Gibbs.

After starting their chase on a cautious note against Punjab's attack opener Brett Lee, Hyderabad skipper Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs were back to their routing ways till Powar got Gilchrist stumped in his first over itself. He then bowled TS Suman out at the next ball.

Gilchrist was hitting Punjab attack to all sides of the ground and was being supported well by a quieter Gibbs at the other end.

With no one except K Sangakkara managing to hold fort against Hyderabad attack, Punjab gave Hyderabad a decent target.

Punjab's hopes were again on the rocks as Hyderabad's RP Singh took his third wicket and bundled up Irfan Pathan after sending back Sangakkara.

Irfan Pathan was the seventh Punjab wicket to fall as Herschelle Gibbs made no mistake in catching him off Singh.

Punjab's Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Sangakkara had revived Punjab's chances with his half-century but the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, RP Singh, again struck for Hyderabad.

Earlier, TS Suman sent Wilkin Mota packing. After RP Singh struck first to send opener S Sohal back to the dugout, L Pomersbach was run out cheaply.

Even Simon Katich and skipper Yuvraj Singh could not contribute much to Punjab's cause and were scalped up by Andrew Symonds and V Rao respectively.

Having revived their semifinal hopes with a morale-boosting six-wicket win over table toppers Delhi, Punjab will be looking for a victory on Sunday as well in the Indian Premier League match.

Hyderabad won the toss and elected to bowl first against Punjab at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

With 12 points from 12 matches and only one match left after Sunday's clash, they will have to win against Deccan, who have an equal 12 points from 11 outings, if they desire to be in the running for the remaining three semifinal spots after Daredevils had already reserved their place in the last four.

Kings XI had not been a consistent side in this year's IPL having failed to establish a winning momentum but their win against Daredevils on Friday have shown that they can beat any team in the tournament on their day.