Sometimes, it takes just one poor stroke to let victory slip away. Kings XI Punjab learnt it the hard way on Wednesday as they slumped to a 31-run defeat against the Rajasthan Royals.
They were cruising along at over ten runs per over when Yuvraj Singh pulled Siddharth Trivedi’s delivery to midwicket, only to see Michael Lumb spilling a straightforward chance. Instead of getting his focus back, the ex-skipper scooped the very next ball he faced from the same bowler to mid-off, and this time there was no reprieve as Faiz Fazal accepted the offering gleefully.
At his fall, the scorecard read 107 for 3 in 11 overs, which turned to 126 for 6 in just a couple of overs. Yuvraj obviously can’t be held responsible for the false strokes the batsmen following him played, but he certainly won’t have explanation for throwing away his wicket.
The lapse on the part of Yuvarj and subsequent batsmen spoiled the rousing start provided by the top order. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara finally showed some signs of regaining his touch. He saw Kings XI off to a great start with some handsome drives and cuts, especially off the inaccurate Shaun Tait. He had started to look threatening when he guided a short-pitched delivery from Tait straight to third man.
His dismissal, however, brought no relief to the Royals as the little known Manvinder Bisla came out firing all cylinders. He immediately got down to business, smashing Munaf Patel and then Shane Warne for plenty. He couldn't go beyond 35, but the fact that it came off just 18 balls pushed Kings XI into a comfort zone as far as the asking rate was concerned. But then a phase of madness undid the good work.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals put up one of their better batting efforts in the tournament, scoring 183 for 5. They got off to a great start with Michael Lumb finally coming good. He picked up a boundary or two from almost every over until he was stumped at 41 off Piyush Chawla. The following batsmen showed good sense to reach the score they eventually did. While Faiz Fazal dropped anchor at one end, Yusuf Pathan (28) and Adam Voges (45no) gave the required impetus.