Punjab win last ball thriller

Port Elizabeth: Mahela Jayawardene struck an unbeaten 52 to guide Kings XI Punjab to a nail-biting six-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here today.

The Sri Lankan hit seven fours in his 41-ball knock as Punjab surpassed Kolkata’s competitive 153-3 in a last-ball finish at St George’s Park. Needing seven from the final over by Kolkata paceman Ajit Agarkar, Jayawardene hit a four while Irfan Pathan (19 not out) fetched the winning runs for Punjab.

The victory helped Punjab climb to the second position in the points table while the struggling Kolkata continued to languish at the bottom with their sixth defeat from eight matches. The Yuvraj Singh-led Punjab have now won four of their seven matches in this Twenty20 competition.

Punjab were off to a disappointing start with Ishant Sharma claiming Kumar Sangakkara for a duck in the first over but a slew of dropped catches and poor fielding did Kolkata no favours. Simon Katich (34) was dropped on five by Chris Gayle while Sunny Sohal also thrived on a grassed chance to make a fine 26-ball 25 on debut.

Kolkata’s innings was built around Brad Hodge who top-scored with an unbeaten 70 off just 43 balls and shared key partnerships with Sourav Ganguly (22) and Morne van Wyk (18 not out). The Australian smashed 10 fours and a six in a late assault that saw Kolkata put on 101 runs in their last 10 overs. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla was the most successful bowler with 2-27 from four overs.

On Saturday, left-arm slow bowler Shadap Jakati spun the Chennai Super Kings back into contention with an 18-run win over the Delhi Daredevils. David Warner (51) and Dinesh Karthik (52) took Delhi within sight of overhauling a disappointing Chennai total of 163 all out.

But both men fell to Jakati and Delhi limped to 145-8. Jakati took 4-24. Chennai hurried to 112-2 in the 13th over with Matthew Hayden (30), Suresh Raina (32) and Subramanian Badrinath (45) all scoring comfortably.

Raina and Badrinath were dismissed in the 13th and 15th overs respectively, bringing the Chennai side’s big hitters, Albie Morkel and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, together. Instead of a burst of scoring in the closing overs, Dirk Nannes and Ashish Nehra ploughed through the middle and lower order. Morkel fell to Nehra for six and Dhoni to Nannes for the same score. Both bowlers took 3-27.

Delhi were rocked by Sudeep Tyagi, who dismissed Gautam Gambhir and AB de Villiers with successive deliveries with the total on 20. Jakati bowled Tillekeratne Dilshan before Warner and Karthik came together in a fourth wicket stand of 74. But Warner took a wild swing at a ball from Jakati and was stumped in the 16th over to start a Delhi collapse.