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Mahela’s Effort In Vain As Kochi Tuskers Eliminated By Determined Kings Xi Punjab IPLTournament

May 14, 2011 3:12:38 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Mahela Jayawardena must be wondering just what he has to do to end up on a winning side these days. Ever since his classy century in the World Cup final against India in a losing cause every time he produces a reprise of that innings he ends up a loser.
On Friday Jayawardena struck a sublime 76 off just 52 balls and took his team to 176 for 8 only which seemed enough to defend against Kings XI Punjab but a whirlwind innings by Dinesh Karthik snuffed the life out of the Tuskers and put them out of the tournament’s final round.
Karthik blasted 69 off 33 balls to help Kings XI Punjab to pull off a sensational six-wicket victory over the Kochi Tuskers in their must-win Indian Premier League encounter in Indore.
Punjab overhauled Kochi’s 178 for seven in 18.5 overs and in the process kept their semi-final ambitions alive.
Kochi captain Mahela Jayawardene’s blazing half-century and a four-wicket burst from RP Singh were in vain as the new entrants crashed out of the tournament with just five wins from 12 matches.
Batting first after losing the toss, Jayawardene and Brendon McCullum gave Kochi a terrific start with both scoring at 10 per over in the first eight.
Bipul Sharma gave Punjab the breakthrough by trapping McCullum (32 off 27 balls), but Jayawardene carried on adding 65 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (17) and Owais Shah (23 off 12).
Kochi had reached 164 for four after 17 overs, but the England international ran himself out, allowing Punjab to exercise some control.
Despite a 52-ball 76 from Jayawardene, Kochi only got 75 runs off the last 10 overs and finished at 178 for seven, having at one time looked like they would go past 200.
Paul Valthaty, Shaun Marsh and Karthik kept Punjab in the hunt despite Adam Gilchrist failing to come good.
Paceman Singh’s double strike helped him regain the IPL’s highest wicket-taker honour from Lasith Malinga (59).
Marsh and Karthik took the score to 84 for two at halfway needing to score at nearly 10 per over in the remainder, but the third-wicket pair blasted 31 in the next two overs to keep Punjab on track.
Karthik then hit successive sixes off Jadeja on his way to his half-century off just 24 balls, which also marked his 100-run stand with Marsh off 50 balls as the required rate dropped to under seven.
However, Singh’s return to the attack gave a scare to Punjab as a free-hitting Karthik (69 off 33) and Marsh (42 off 30) fell to the paceman in the 15th over.
After a quiet 16th over new pair Mandeep Singh and David Hussey hit a four each off Vinay Kumar to bring the requirement down to 18 from as many balls.
Mandeep (15 not out) and Hussey (21no) rattled off the remaining runs with seven balls to spare.