Hussey, Gurkeerat keep Kings XI in playoff hunt
Mohali, May 14 (IANS) Skipper David Hussey and Gurkeerat Singh fashioned an unlikely four-wicket win for Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling last-ball finish against Deccan Chargers here Sunday to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the playoffs in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Requiring 16 off the last over, young Gurkeerat smashed two fours and a six off Manpreet Gony to chase down Deccan's score of 190 for four in placid batting conditions at the PCA Stadium here.
Hussey (65 off 35 balls) and Gurkeerat (29 off 12) had a 45-run stand as they propelled Punjab to 194 for six. Deccan once again failed to defend a huge target and lost on the ball yet again.
Punjab though still have a daunting task of qualifying for the playoffs. They will face table toppers Delhi Daredevils twice and defending champions Chennai Super Kings once.
Punjab started the chase in dismal fashion, losing Nitin Saini and Shaun Marsh without much on the board. Mandeep Singh (28), Punjab's top scorer this season, failed to replicate some of his previous innings.
Azhar Mahmood (30) and captain David Hussey notched a partnership off 44 from 30 balls to bring the hosts back into reckoning.
Hussey smashed five sixes and four fours on his way to a match-winning innings. Punjab scored 44 of the last three overs to recover from an improbable situation.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan continued his great form scoring 71 off 50 balls and put on a 96-run stand with Australian Cameron White, who scored 67 off 41 balls.
Parthiv Patel (18) once again failed to fire with the bat for Deccan. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara (1) too fell cheaply to leave the Chargers reeling at 49 for two in the seventh over.
Dhawan smashed five fours and three sixes as he punished the Punjab bowlers on a placid batting track. With 538 runs in the tournament, the left-hander moved to third position in the top run getters list behind Ajinkya Rahane (541) and Chris Gayle (572).
After a slow start to the tournament, White struck a rich vein of form. He was again severe on the bowlers and hit eight fours and a six.
Daniel Christian played a cameo towards the end scoring 24 off 10 balls, which included two sixes and a four. Together, the two Australians scored 44 off 17 balls giving their team the much-needed push for a big total.
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