DC vs KXIP: Kings XI Punjab crush Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets
HYDERABAD: There is something magical about Adam Gilchrist. Though age may have reduced his reflexes a bit and his batting prowess may not be as awesome as it used to be but his cricketing brains are as sharp as they were in his hey days.
On Saturday, the wizard of Oz pulled out another trick from his bag to help Kings XI Punjab score a comprehensive eight wicket win with 14 balls to spare against Deccan Chargers at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.
If it was Paul Valthaty the batsmen that slew Chennai Super Kings in the previous game than it was Valthaty the all-rounder that defused Deccan's Charge in front of a near full house. Gilchrist's golden boy turned in a magical spell with the cherry to restrict the hosts to 165 for eight and then came up with his brand of power hitting that put paid to the aspirations of the Chargers to steam ahead with back to back wins.
Chasing 166, Punjab answered Chargers fiery attack with some fearsome power hitting as Gilchrist and Valthaty tore into the Chargers pacers. In the power vs pace battle, the Punjab firepower prevailed over the famed Chargers's pace. Runs came in torrents as Valthaty struck some lusty blows to get the Kings XI off to a blistering start. Not to be left behind, Gilchrist soon joined the party and won the race to the half-century as he lofted leggie Amit Mishra straight to the sight screen. He took 30 balls to get to the landmark while striking five fours and three sixes.
Valthaty was not going to be left behind as he too reached the 50-run mark with a six of spinner JP Duminy. He took five more balls than his illustrious partner but then raced ahead with another six off Duminy in the same over.
Chargers finally got a breakthrough when the impressive Mishra had Gilchrist (61; 46b, 5x4, 3x6) caught at the square leg fence by Ravi Teja with the score reading 136. Valthaty unleashed some more of his superb blows to take the visitors nearer to the rival score before falling to Mishra being caught by Ishant at long on. Valthaty struck 75 off 47 balls with eight fours and five sixes.
Earlier at 81 for one at the end of the 10th over, it looked as if Chargers were set for a huge total but it was then that Gilchrist conjured up some magic. With Shikhar Dhawan and Kumar Sangakkara running riot, Gilchrist brought on Piyush Chawla from the far end and the leg spinner obliged his skipper by inducing Sangakkara (35) to go for a sweep which ended in McLaren's hands at the midwicket fence.
But the real stroke of genius was when Gilchrist in the very next over tossed the ball to Valthaty.