Indore: Dinesh Karthik smashed a quickfire 69 as Kings XI Punjab overcame initial and middle over stutter to thump Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) by six wickets to keep themselves in contention for a play-off berth in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Friday.
Chasing a stiff 179, KXIP made a struggling start with openers Paul Valthaty (17) and Adam Gilchrist (9) falling cheaply inside five overs for just 31 runs before Karthik and Shaun Marsh (42) helping their side win the match with seven balls to spare with a 111-run third wicket stand in 9.3 overs.
David Hussey (21 not out from 15 balls) finished the run chase in style with a six off Ravindra Jadeja as KXIP reached 181 for four in 18.5 overs to take his side to their fifth win in 11 matches.
Karthik smashed seven fours and five sixes in his 33-ball knock while Marsh hit five fours and two sixes from 30 balls to set up the win on a batting-friendly pitch at the Holkar Stadium which was hosting the first IPL match.
Pacer R. P. Singh grabbed a superb 4/25 to threaten to win the match for KTK but the KXIP batsmen were up to the task.
With the win today, KXIP remained in contention for a play-off berth as they jumped to sixth spot with 10 points with three matches remaining.
KTK, on the other hand, were virtually knocked out of the tournament with 10 points from 12 matches. They have two matches remaining.
The KXIP opening stand yielded just 25 runs in 2.5 overs with Valthaty falling victim to R. P. Singh after making a promising start, hitting two sixes in consecutive balls in the third over.
Valthaty’s middle stump was knocked off as the ball went through the gap between bat and pad. The KXIP opener, who faced 10 balls and hit a four and two sixes, failed once again after promising a lot early in the tournament.
Gilchrist, who was struggling in his 15-ball stay, departed with a soft dismissal as he holed out to Parthiv Patel and KXIP were 31 for two in the fifth over when he left.
One-down Marsh and Karthik, who came in at the fall of Gilchrist, however, revived the innings with a century-plus stand for the third wicket.
Marsh hit three fours in the sixth over bowled by S. Sreesanth as KXIP were 49 for two after the first power play. Karthik then smote Vinay Kumar for a six and a four in consecutive balls.
Marsh and Karthik took calculated risk to find the boundaries as KXIP reached 84 for two at the halfway mark. The in-form Australian put the pressure on opposition side with two sixes off compatriot Brad Hodge in the 12th over with one sailing inches above a leaping Sreesanth as KXIP took 19 runs from that over.
As if competing each other, Karthik then reached to his third IPL fifty with a six off Jadeja and then followed it up next ball with another hit for maximum result to take 16 runs from the 13th over and bring down the asking rate to less than seven per over.