ERLEY - A powerful start from the top four, followed by nerveless hands from Mahela Jayawardene and Brett Lee stole the thunder from Andrew Symonds' first IPL game, setting up Kings XI Punjab's win over the Deccan Chargers at the Kimberley Oval. The win won't take Punjab into the top four but they will hope it is an end to their poor run of three losses in the last four games. This was the game of the two returning Australians, Symonds and Lee, and though both starred, only one prevailed as the match went down to the final over.
Andrew Symonds' power-hitting a day after landing in South Africa took Deccan Chargers to 168 against Kings XI Punjab in the first IPL game to be played at the de Beers Oval in Kimberley. He hit four sixes in his unbeaten 36-ball 60 and added 97 at more than 10 an over with Venugopal Rao, who made a 25-ball 32.
Symonds came in with Deccan reasonably placed at 70 for 3 in the tenth over, but Brett Lee struck immediately after the strategy break: he nearly ran Rohit Sharma out before bowling one down leg side that Rohit edged to a diving Kumar Sangakkara to put Deccan at 73 for 4.
Symonds tried to break the shackles - he was helped by Yuvraj Singh who missed a caught-and-bowled chance - and along with Venugopal sought to battle the slow pitch and muscle the boundaries.
Venugopal hit Yuvraj for a six over extra cover and Symonds picked a short ball by Piyush Chawla for a six over midwicket. Deccan went past 100 in the 15th over after which Symonds began attacking in earnest. Irfan Pathan went for 13 runs and Sreesanth for 20 - including consecutive sixes over long-on and long-off -as Symonds reached his fifty off 29 balls. Venugopal then ruined Wilkin Mota's figures with a six and an edged four off his final over which went for 17, ten more than his first three.
Deccan owed their quick start - 44 in the first five overs - to Adam Gilchrist, T Suman and several misfields by Punjab. Gilchrist hit Pathan for two fours in his first over and then pulled Sreesanth's first ball for a six over deep backward square leg. But in his eagerness to get on top of Sreesanth, he inside-edged the next two balls and fell to the fourth, flicking one just short of a length to Ramesh Powar at fine leg
Suman came in and attacked right from the start, lofting Pathan to long-off for two, picking him off the pads for a six and also getting runs off edges. After Herschelle Gibbs fell, cutting Chawla to Mahela Jayawardene at backward point, Suman and Rohit began building on the quick start. They rotated the strike and picked boundaries off shorter deliveries - Chawla was hit for a six to long-off by Suman and lofted for a four to wide midwicket by Rohit in an over that cost 12 runs.
A bowling change in the tenth over ended Suman's innings and slowed Deccan down, but only till Symonds found his groove.
AC Gilchrist c Powar b Sreesanth 20
HH Gibbs c Jayawardene b Chawla 13
TS Suman c Jayawardene b Mota 27
RG Sharma c Sangakkara b Lee 9
A Symonds not out 60
Y Venugopal Rao run out (Katich/Sangakkara) 32
EXTRAS (lb 2, w 3, nb 2) 7
TOTAL (5 wickets; 20 overs) 168
Did not bat: DB Ravi Teja, PP Ojha, SM Shoaib, RP Singh, RJ Harris
Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Gilchrist, 3.4 ov), 2-54 (Gibbs, 6.3 ov), 3-70 (Suman, 9.2 ov), 4-73 (Sharma, 10.4 ov), 5-168 (Venugopal Rao, 19.6 ov)
B Lee 4-0-24-1
IK Pathan 4-0-42-0
S Sreesanth 4-0-37-1
PP Chawla 3-0-26-1
WA Mota 4-0-26-1
Yuvraj Singh 1-0-11-0
Kings XI Punjab
S Sohal c Venugopal Rao b Sharma -30
SM Katich c Venugopal Rao b Sharma 9
KC Sangakkara b Shoaib 25
Yuvraj Singh c Gilchrist b Shoaib 18
DPMD Jayawardene run out (Ravi Teja/Gilchrist) 43
IK Pathan c Shoaib b Suman 10
WA Mota run out (Gibbs/Gilchrist) 3
B Lee not out 14
PP Chawla not out 8
EXTRAS (lb 6, w 3) 9
TOTAL (7 wickets; 19.5 overs) 169
Did not bat RR Powar, S Sreesanth
Fall of wickets: 1-41 (Sohal, 4.3 ov), 2-42 (Katich, 4.5 ov), 3-85 (Sangakkara, 9.4 ov), 4-86 (Yuvraj Singh, 9.6 ov), 5-116 (Pathan, 14.2 ov), 6-127 (Mota, 16.2 ov), 7-149 (Jayawardene, 17.5 ov)
RJ Harris 3-0-29-0
RP Singh 2.5-0-26-0
SM Shoaib 3-0-25-2
RG Sharma 2-0-12-2
Y Venugopal Rao 1-0-3-0
TS Suman 3-0-24-1
A Symonds 1 -0-20-0
PP Ojha 4-0-24-0
Toss: Kings XI Punjab, who chose to field first
Result: Kings XI Punjab won by 3 wickets (with 1 ball remaining)
Points: Kings XI Punjab 2, Deccan Chargers 0
Player of the match: DPMD Jayawardene (Kings XI Punjab)
Umpires: GAV Baxter (New Zealand) and AM Saheba (India)
TV umpire: HDPK Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Match referee: J Srinath (India)
Reserve umpire: KH Hurter.