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Kings tame Tuskers

cricket Updated: May 14, 2011 13:35 IST
Vinayak Pande
Vinayak Pande
Hindustan Times
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Plenty of fours, plenty of sixes and little or no regard for bowlers, all to the accompaniment of cheers and blaring music. It was all anyone could ask for from an IPL match as the Kings XI Punjab beat the Kochi Tuskers by six wickets at the Holkar Cricket Stadium here on Friday.

It was just the ticket for the crowd that poured in to witness Indore's first IPL match. They rode in on two wheelers, rickshaws and small cars to be a part of cricketing history being made in Madhya Pradesh.

And considering the fact that Kochi are pushing ahead with plans to make a permanent venue for their team in more familiar surroundings, it could well be one of their last opportunities to witness Indian cricket's biggest craze.

The atmosphere of the match, complete with relatively modestly dressed cheerleaders (this is the Hindi heartland after all) made for fascinating viewing. Not to mention the presence of the entire IPL entourage consisting of coaches, support staff, broadcasters and officials.

In the first innings, Kochi skipper Mahela Jayawardene treated spectators to his full repertoire of shots as the 'home' team posted 178 in their allotted 20 overs.

It could have been a lot worse for the visiting Kings XI team had they not gotten the dangerous Owais Shah out early. Getting Parthiv Patel out the very next delivery also helped matters. But Jayawardene was in no mood to give up his side's advantage.

Egged on by an almost packed stadium, Jayawardene pulled out every shot in the book, including an attempt at a scoop shot to keep his team on course for a challenging target.

It seemed like smooth sailing for Kochi when they managed to dismiss Paul Valthaty and Adam Gilchrist cheaply, but Punjab was in no mood to lose the momentum they had gained after beating Mumbai in their last game.

Run machine Shaun Marsh and Dinesh Karthik tore into the Kochi bowlers and put on 111 runs for the third wicket in just 9.3 overs to take the match away from men in orange and purple.

The win takes Punjab to the periphery of playoff contention as Kochi gear up to bounce back from this defeat on Sunday when they take on the Rajasthan Royals.

The victory keeps Kings XI Punjab in with a chance to qualify for the playoffs. They have to win all their matches, and hope other results go in their favour.