Cape Town: All-rounder Irfan Pathan struck a valuable 39 and then picked up two crucial wickets to fashion Kings XI Punjab’s convincing 27-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Sunday.
Riding on a 51-ball 60 by Kumar Sangakkara and an equally important 33-ball 39 by Irfan, Kings XI Punjab first posted a modest 139 for six after electing to bat first and then restricted the Rajasthan Royals at 112 for seven in the stipulated 20 overs.
Chasing 140 to win, Rajasthan Royals lost half their side within seven overs for 36 runs, thanks to a disciplined piece of bowling by pacers, Irfan (2/26) and Yusuf Abdulla (3/21) and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (2/22).
Irfan started the proceeding, striking twice in his very first over, removing openers - Swapnil Asnodkar (3) and Graeme Smith (2) - to leave the Rajasthan Royal struggling at nine for two in 2 overs.
Abdulla then followed Irfan’s footsteps and dealt two more severe blows when he had Rob Quiney (7) and Dimitry Mascarenhas (4) back into the pavillion in his second over.
New man Yusuf Pathan (10) tried to break the shackles and hammered two fours in the fourth and sixth bowl off Irfan’s second over. But he too perished at short fine leg off Piyush Chawla in the 6.4 over.
Chawla struck again in his second over, when he had Abhishek Raut (1) hold out at mid off to Ramesh Powar.
Ravindra Jadeja (37) and skipper Shane Warne (34) kept the hopes alive with a 60-run partnership but with the run-rate rising every moment, Jadeja perished when his timbers were rocked by Abdulla in his second spell.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab made a disastrous start, losing three crucial wickets of Karan Goel (0), Ravi Bopara (11) and skipper Yuvraj Singh (2) within a span of 6.1 overs with only 38 runs on board.
Kumar Sangakkara (60 off 51 balls) and Irfan Pathan (39 off 33 balls) then combined together and stitched a valuable 75-run partnership to resurrect the Punjab’s innings.
Sangakkara hit seven fours and a six, while Irfan’s innings was studded with a couple of fours and equal number of hits over the rope.
Earlier, a terrible mixup resulted in opener Karan Goel’s wicket with Ravindra Jadeja and Asnodkar completing the proceedings for the Royals.
Kamran Khan then dealt a severe blow to the Mohali team, removing Ravi Bopara who failed to negotiate his slower delivery and was caught at mid-on by Munaf Patel.