Bopara makes merry

Published : May 02, 2009 00:00 IST

Ravi Bopara... excellent innings.-AP
Ravi Bopara... excellent innings.-AP

Ravi Bopara... excellent innings.-AP

Ravi Bopara complemented the good work done by the Kings XI bowlers to steer his side to a superb seven-wicket victory.

Kings XI Punjab finally beat bad luck to register its first win in the tournament, courtesy Ravi Bopara’s excellent innings chasing Royal Challengers’ 168 for nine at Kingsmead, Durban. Bopara’s well-paced knock helped complete the good work done by Kings XI bowlers, Yusuf Abdulla — who claimed four wickets — and Irfan Pathan, as the Punjab outfit won by seven wickets.

Opening the batting, Bopara and Karan Goel got off to a steady start. Bopara waited till the seventh over for his first six — a powerful pull off Jacques Kallis. Kumar Sangakkara got into the act after Goel’s dismissal, slogging Bangalore skipper Kevin Pietersen for a four through deep square-leg, and a six straight over the bowler’s head. Sangakkara promised more, but was caught at long-off by Pankaj Singh off Anil Kumble for 26.

Punjab’s run-rate was healthy enough for Bopara to continue playing deliveries on merit. The singles and the twos helped maintain the rate of scoring, but Bangalore’s bowlers bowled too many loose deliveries.

Praveen Kumar came in for harsh treatment in the 16th over, when Kings XI needed 60 runs from 30 balls. Bopara swung his arms at an overpitched delivery for a smooth six over long-on, and followed it up with a four past the wicket-keeper. Two balls later, a low full-toss was dispatched over square-leg for a massive six. Nineteen runs came off that over, tipping the scales firmly in Punjab’s favour.

Skipper Yuvraj Singh offered good support, but it was Bopara’s night. He pounded two sixes off Jesse Ryder, one of which went out of the ground, in the 18th over, leaving Punjab needing just 11 runs from 12 balls.

Bopara perished to a top-edge off Ryder — Kallis taking the catch at mid-wicket — but Punjab was on its way home. Bopara’s 59-ball 84 included four fours and five sixes. Yuvraj finished the match in style with a six.

Earlier, Bangalore’s openers once again failed to put up a partnership. Robin Uthappa edged a wide delivery from Pathan to depart the first ball. Kallis began well, pulling Pathan for a boundary and hitting Abdulla over cover-point for four more.

His 46-ball 62 was characteristically sound, comprising five fours and two sixes.

Ryder (32) swung at a delivery from left-arm paceman Abdulla and missed, the ball clipping the bails. Abdulla struck again two balls later with a slower delivery as Pietersen offered Goel a catch at short-cover. Piyush Chawla removed Rahul Dravid for 10, with V. R. V. Singh taking the catch at long-on.

Kallis and Ross Taylor put on 61 runs in six overs, before Kallis pulled Abdulla for Mahela Jayawardene to complete the catch at deep square-leg. Abdulla removed Taylor for his fourth wicket, restricting Bangalore to 168 for nine.

The Scores

Bangalore Royal Challengers 168 for nine in 20 overs (J. Ryder 32, J. Kallis 62, R. Taylor 35, Y. Abdulla four for 31, I. Pathan three for 35) lost to Kings XI Punjab 173 for three in 19 overs (R. Bopara 84, K. Sangakkara 26, Yuvraj Singh 30 not out).

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