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Swimming into focus in style

cricket Updated: Apr 14, 2011 02:41 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Before this match, hardly anyone had heard about Paul Valthaty. Few will now forget the 27-year-old Mumbai batsman in a hurry after he grabbed the cricket world's attention by powering a successful chase of Kings XI Punjab to upset defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

It is not often that one gets to see a batsman outscoring Adam Gilchrist at the top of the order in a limited overs match. That is what Valthaty did in his career defining innings, smashing 120 not out of just 63 balls to guide his team to a six-wicket victory with five balls to spare.

Few had given Kings XI Punjab much hopes of upstaging a CSK side brimming with talent and confidence.

And the odds swung further in their favour when Dhoni's team piled up 188 for 4, recovering from early setbacks. It was almost business as usual, until Valthaty was given a life on 10 when Albie Morkel misjudged an otherwise regulation catch running backwards.

Promoted as pinch-hitter instead of Shaun Marsh, Valthaty rode his luck and swung happily as the CSK bowlers found it hard to contain the run flow.

He hit 19 fours and two sixes that overshadowed the half-centuries of CSK's Murali Vijay and S Badrinath.

Faced with an asking rate of 9.4 per over, Gilchrist was out for 19 but Valthaty powered on with good suppohttp://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/140411/14_04_pg19a.jpgrt from the rest of the batsmen. He took Albie Morkel on in the sixth over. He pulled the Proteas pacer for a six off the first ball and then hit two fours. Thereafter, it was Valthaty all the way. His century came off a Morkel delivery which Valthaty managed to steer to third man for four. Sunny Singh played a cameo of 11-ball 20. Needing two runs in the last over, Dinesh Karthik hit a winning six.

Vijay and Badrinath had wrecked Kings XI Punjab bowling after Praveen Kumar had struck with his first two deliveries, removing opener Anirudha Srikkanth and Suresh Raina. Skipper MS Dhoni also dug his teeth into the lacklustre bowling to cream 43 runs of 20 balls.

Vijay and Badrinath steadied the innings and then launched a counter attack.

While Badrinath anchored one end, Vijay treated Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar and Abishek Nayar with disdain. Vijay took 14 runs off Kumar's third over while Dhoni plundered 22 runs off his last.

Vijay fell to Chawla after he hit the spinner for a six and four, scoring 74 off 43 balls with six boundaries and four sixes. Badrinath remained unbeaten on 66 off 56 balls.