Kings XI Punjab’s Paul Valthaty bitchslaps Chennai to a loss in IPL 4
Kings XI Punjab, a team we’ve slammed for 240, took a hattrick against, routed in a semi final, slapped around even in a rain curtailed game, defended 116 against and chased 192 against in a high pressure match with a semi final spot on stake. 6-1. The one blip came in a game that was decided by a super over. Suffice to say, it’s a team CSK has very easily had the upper hand against. We’ve subjected them to most kinds of defeat possible, they’re our punching bags.
Which is why I didn’t expect Chennai to take the beating they did. The game started off nightmarishly with Praveen Kumar snaring two in the first two balls of the match, sending back Srikkanth junior and Raina with zilch on the scoreboard. Badri, who has come in at far worse situations pulled off yet another rescue while Vijay found his rhythm, finally, on a pitch he’d like to take home to show his parents. A vintage Dhoni cameo saw the total swell to 188/4. Neat huh, after being 0/2 in 0.2 overs?
Paul Valthaty didn’t even wait for Gilchrist to get going. Partial loss of eyesight in the right eye and all, he came out all guns blazing. He hit hard, even his timing shots in the gaps were placed furiously. The bowlers repeatedly fed him back of a length filth which he rocked back and pulled or cut while the fielders dropped the one or two chances that came their way.
Gilchrist looked like he was settling in to play the innings he never did last year before (thankfully) holing out. The rest of the Punjab batsmen didn’t even have to do much but the bloody opportunists swung hard for their 15-20 odd each anyway. Shaun Marsh, Sunny Singh and Dinesh Karthik all played very adventurous second fiddles while Abhishek Nayar played like it was his India stint and contributed nothing.
Valthaty played an innings which would be a dream knock for any batsman in a T20 match. A big total to chase, a shrewd opposition captain, good bowlers with variety in the opposition ranks and his own non existent record to overcome. He never stopped attacking, never looked like tiring, assessed the field superbly, didn’t get distracted by his ton, rotated the strike regularly enough, stuck right through to the end and generally made Shane Warne look like a fool for having benched him in the Rajasthan Royals camp all the time he was there. All of those take some doing.
Repeating this innings will be a hard task but if delivers even half of this consistently over the next month, he could push KXIP closer to a spot in the qualifiers. Paul Valthaty, take a bow!
CSK have put in their one obligatory exceptionally bad bowling performance early this year, it’s the second time we’ve failed to defend 188. Frighteningly, we’d almost conceded a total of 246 last year against Rajasthan. Leftie seamer Doug Bollinger coming in place of rightie Tim Southee will give Dhoni options, something he needs to throw at rampaging opposition batsmen like Mr. Valthaty. Albie, despite the shit bowling will stay for the same reason, he gives MSD options in the batting line up.
Next up is RCB in Bengaluru. Stopping Dilshan, de Villiers and a solid, young Indian middle order won’t be easy, I hope CSK bounce back for it though.