They hate them in Kimberley because Australians are the nemesis of South Africans. But they are game as long as the Aussies are not down their throats. IPL II has given them this rare chance and they are lapping it up.
Be it Andrew Symonds or Brett Lee, people of Kimberley are loving them. It didn’t matter in the end that it was a Sri Lankan who turned the game in favour of the Kings XI Punjab against the Deccan Chargers on a Super Saturday.
It was Symonds for the first half of the match. He defies every popular notion concerning the holy game. Consistently questioning the conventional, he overwrote theories on jet lag and blasted one of the most brutal half-centuries of the ongoing event although it didn’t look so merciless. For the spectators that is! “Love watching him,” said Phillips, a resident of Bloemfontien, with roots in Nigeria.
“T20 is about entertainment and he provides just that. As long as he is not playing US, we like him. As it is, we don’t have a team to support here. So we would rather root for entertainers.”
Symonds provided a generous dose of that by his lofty standards. It was clinical butchery, to put it mildly. Shifts in time zones, body clock adjusting and inadequate rest after arriving here on Friday evening – he smacked all those obstacles out of the park. The sellout crowd was thrilled by every bit of it.
The side that has failed to chase big targets in the last two games had it in them to do something different. The response came from unexpected quarters. Not many had heard of Sunny Sohal. He plays for Punjab, hits the ball hard and did just that to set up the chase.
The more unexpected bit came after that. Mahela Jayawardene is a silken striker of the ball who specialises in caressing it instead of coming down on it with raw power. Here he was meeting the cherry with utmost care. Jayawardene wasn’t there till the end but ensured that the pretty Zinta smile remains a feature of IPL II for a few days more. The enthralled turnout loved all of it – the strokes, the touch and the smile.
A Gilchrist c Powar b Sreesanth 20 (16b, 3x4, 1x6), H Gibbs c Jayawardene b Chawla 13 (13b, 1x4), T Suman c Jayawardene b Mota 27 (17b, 1x4, 2x6), R Sharma c Sangakkara b Lee 9 (15b, 1x4), A Symonds not out 60 (36b, 2x4, 4x6), Y Venugopal Rao run out 32 (25b, 1x4, 2x6).
Extras (lb 2, w 3, nb 2) 7
Total (5 wickets) 168
Fall of wkts: 1-31, 2-54, 3-70, 4-73, 5-168
Bowling: B Lee 4-0-24-1 (1nb, 2w), IK Pathan-4-0-42-0 (1w), S Sreesanth-4-0-37-1, P Chawla 3-0-26-1, WA Mota-4-0-26-1 (1nb), Yuvraj Singh 1-0-11-0
Kings XI Punjab
S Sohal c Venugopal Rao b Sharma 30 (17b, 4x4, 1x6), S Katich c Venugopal Rao b Sharma 9 (11b, 1x4), K Sangakkara b Shoaib 25 (18b, 1x4, 1x6), Y Singh c Gilchrist b Shoaib 18 (14b, 1x4, 1x6), M Jayawardene run out 43 (28b, 1x4, 3x6), I Pathan c Shoaib b Suman 10 (12b, 1x4), W Mota run out 3 (4b), B Lee not out 14 (10b, 1x6), P Chawla not out 8 (6b, 1x4).
Extras (lb 6, w 3) 9
Total (7 wickets; 19.5 overs) 169
Fall of wkts: 1-41, 2-42, 3-85, 4-86, 5-116, 6-127, 7-149
Bowling: RJ Harris 3-0-29-0 (1w), RP Singh 2.5-0-26-0, S Shoaib 3-0-25-2, RG Sharma 2-0-12-2, Y Venugopal Rao 1-0-3-0, T Suman 3-0-24-1, A Symonds 1-0-20-0, (1w), P Ojha 4-0-24-0 (1w).