Kings XI Punjab beat B'lore Royal Challengers by seven wickets | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Kings XI Punjab beat B'lore Royal Challengers by seven wickets

Ravi Bopara blasted his way to a half century to help the Kings XI Punjab beat the Bangalore Royal Challengers by seven wickets at Kingsmead for their first victory in this year's IPL season, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay. Scoreboard | Listen to podcastaudio | Full coverage

cricket Updated: Apr 25, 2009 11:13 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

The evening before the weekend was a good time for the people of Durban to come to the ground in numbers, enjoy the atmosphere, the beer and the fun. They didn't disappoint the organisers, turned up in thousands and enjoyed everything they could along with the cricket.

"I want Bangalore to win. They haven't won anything after the first one," said Des Naidu, a spectator with roots in Andhra Pradesh. His teenage daughter Chanel was rooting for the Kings XI because she is a Yuvraj Singh fan. Her hero didn't do much but she went home happy.

In keeping with the trend of finding unlikely heroes in IPL II, Kings XI Punjab found a Punjabi who lives in England. Ravinder Singh Bopara, better known as Ravi and nicknamed Puppy, became the second Sikh after Monty Panesar to play for the country his parents had migrated to in the 2007 World Cup, although he has got rid of the turban.

On Friday he played the innings which, apart from making him Priety Zinta's darling, got her team its first win of the competition after two defeats.

It wasn't an easy target considering that locals reckon chasing under lights at the Kingsmead to be tricky. The old virtue of preserving wickets in the days of going hammer and tongs from the start came in handy for Kings XI. They had enough men in the dugout ready to bat when the time came to take risks. So when 60 was needed off five overs, they could have a go at the ball.

Bopara's effort overshadowed a brilliant innings by Jacques Kallis who became the latest entrant to the club of ageing players to have shown in IPL II that T20 is not necessarily for the young and restless. Unfortunately for the South Afcrican stalwart, the exuberance of youth had the last laugh. Chanel, for one, wasn't complaining.