Jayawardene ton breaks Punjab’s losing run
Apr 5, 2010 8:00:00 PM - aussieindolanka.com
There were two captivating innings of contrasting styles on show at the Eden Gardens and, eventually, it was the precision of Mahela Jayawardene’s graceful strokes that helped Kings XI Punjab overcome the challenge set by Chris Gayle’s exhibition of bottom-handed power-hitting. Jayawardene started in high gear and kept the accelerator floored all the way to his first Twenty20 century; his partnership with Sri Lankan team-mate Kumar Sangakkara ensured Punjab’s string of deplorable performances this season ended with a chase that was always several steps ahead of the asking-rate.
While this victory did little for Punjab’s semi-final chances - they need to win five more in a row and then pray - it damaged Kolkata Knight Riders’ campaign. Had they won, they would have climbed to fourth in the league after nine games, ahead of Chennai Super Kings, but instead they remained fifth, just above the Rajasthan Royals. Such a helpless defence of a formidable target would have been far removed from the expectations of a noisy crowd, high on adrenalin after Gayle had blitzed 88 off 42 balls during an innings that contained a 33-run over, the costliest of the IPL.