It has become a norm of sorts. Every time Shaun Marsh walks out to the middle, he scores without fail. It wasn't any different on Wednesday. Instead it was better than whatever he had dished out prior to this match. The left-hander came out firing on all cylinders, unleashing strokes to every corner of the ground to bring up a scintillating century (115) off just 69 balls that was studded with 11 boundaries and seven sixes.And by the time he was done with the fierce onslaught, he had the orange cap — awarded to the leading run-getter in IPL — firmly placed on his astonishingly cool head. In the process, he pushed Mohali, with contributions from James Hopes (51) and Yuvraj Singh (49), to an invincible 221 for 2. The score eventually proved too much for Jaipur, who took the field without their key players like skipper Shane Warne, Sohail Tanveer and Graeme Smith.
Chasing 221, Jaipur too needed some spectacular performances to get to the target. Yusuf Pathan and Neeraj Patel did play courageous knocks, but they were always fighting a lost battle. Eventually, they were restricted to 180 for 7, and went down by 41 runs.
All said and done, it was the day of Mohali batters. Shaun Marsh started the assault from the outset, hardly giving the bowlers any chance to settle down. Strokes flowed incessantly from his bat, yet there wasn't even the slightest hint of slogging. Each of his strokes had class written over it. He hardly looked bothered, and treated all the bowlers with utmost disdain. Marsh looked more than happy to drive, pull, cut and hoist them over the ropes, time and again.
After racing to his fifty, he went relatively silent for a while and allowed James Hopes to take over. The aggressive right-hander joined the party and brought up a quick half century to maintain the Mohali scoring rate at breakneck speed.
Jaipur heaved a sigh of relief when Hopes fell for 51 after putting on 133 runs for the first wicket, but the joy was short-lived. Marsh got down to business again, and Yuvraj Singh joined the party from the other end. Marsh raced to his hundred, hitting some towering sixes on the way, while his captain, at the other end, matched him six for six. Yuvraj finally played the knock everyone had been waiting for a while. It rained sixes from his willow the moment he stepped in, and at one point it appeared he would repeat his record of six sixes. He struck three sixes off the last three balls of a Trivedi over, and then smashed the fourth off the first ball he faced again, making it four in four. The next two were spaced out, but he managed to hit six sixes in all, scoring a breezy 49 off just 16 balls. The last ball run-out left him just a run short of what would have been the fastest half-century in the IPL.
Anyways, Mohali would be more than happy to get back to winning ways ahead of the semifinal.