Punjab steal last-ball thriller

PORT ELIZABETH: Kings XI Punjab prevail over Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets in a nail-biting finish on Sunday.

Chasing a target of 154, Kings XI Punjab lose Kumar Sangakkara in the very first over for a duck but they did not let it hamper their run-chase as Sunny Sohal (25) and Simon Katich (34) quickly got into the repair act.

After these two got out, Mahela Jayawardene and captain Yuvraj Singh took over from where they has left. The duo have adopted a cautious policy and they slowly but steadily they worked towards taking their team closer to the victory target.

Kolkata Knight Riders have got a little glimpse of hope when Ishant Sharma claimed the wicket of captain Yuvraj Singh.

But thereafter, Jayawardene and Irfan Pathan made it look like a cake-walk.

Earlier, Brad Hodge struck an unbeaten 43-ball 70 to propel Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive 153 for three against Kings XI Punjab in their Indian Premier League match on Sunday.

Hodge stitched together a 31-run stand with skipper Brendon McCullum, added 51 with Sourav Ganguly (22) before putting on another 51 runs for the unbeaten fourth wicket with Morne van Wyk (18 not out) to anchor the Kolkata innings after they had won the toss and decided to bat first.

The Knight Riders were off to a subdued start with openers Chris Gayle (17) and McCullum (19) scoring only 15 runs in the first four overs.

Gayle tried to accelerate, smashing two successive boundaries off Yusuf Abdulla in the next over but the South African had the last laugh when he had the left-hander caught at mid-on by Yuvraj Singh.

Hodge then joined McCullum in the middle but runs were not easy to come by as they crawled to 52 for one in 10 overs.

After the strategy break, Kolkata lost McCullum when his slog-sweep found Vikramjeet Malik at deep square leg off Piyush Chawla.

With Kings XI bowlers keeping a tight line and length, new man in Ganguly and Hodge picked up ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking. In the 15th over, Hodge brought up the first six of the Kolkata innings when he heaved Abdulla over long off. Soon Ganguly joined the party and sent Chawla out of the park to up the tempo.

Ganguly, however, could not stay long and fell to Chawla when Kumar Sangakkara took a skier.

Hodge, however, continued his blitzkrieg and brought up his second IPL fifty in the 19th overs and followed it up with a four off Abdulla past square leg.

In the last over off Irfan Pathan, Hodge slammed three consecutive fours, while van Wyk hit a six to score 21 off the over as Kolkata went past the 150-mark.

For Punjab, Chawla bagged two for 27, while Abdulla scalped one giving away 33 runs.