IPL: Vijay, Gurkeerat power Punjab to 172/7

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Visakhapatnam, May 21 (IANS) Riding on skipper Murali Vijay and Gurkeerat Singh’s brilliant half centuries, Kings XI Punjab reached 172 for seven in 20 overs against Rising Pune Supergiants in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie here on Saturday.

Placed at the bottom of the table and already out of contention for the play-offs, the match at the VCA Stadium is an inconsequential affair for both sides.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Punjab got off to a steady start with openers Vijay and Hashim Amla putting on 60 runs before the South African veteran fell prey to off-spinner Ravichandan Ashwin.

In his attempt to accelerate the scoring rate, Amla, who hit four boundaries and a six in his 27-ball knock, tried to hit a short ball over the in-field only to be caught by George Bailey at midwicket.

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Leg-spinner Adam Zampa doubled the joy for Pune, by packing off incoming batsman Wriddhiman Saha (3) cheaply.

Gurkeerat then joined his skipper, who continued his brilliant run with the bat to notch another half century off just 35 balls.

Nearing his half century, Vijay changed gears, blasting Zampa for two sixes as the right-handed duo brought up the team’s 100 in 14 overs.

Sensing danger, Pune skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought in his old warhorse, Ashwin, and the Tamil Nadu offie responded well by breaking the 58-run third wicket stand.

Vijay, who tried to slog sweep Ashwin found his middle stump knocked off to return to the pavilion for a 41-ball 59.

Vijay’s dismissal, however, did not deter Gurkeerat, who smashed pacer Irfan Pathan for two sixes to get to his 29-ball 51. The Punjab batter then blasted Ashwin for a six and a four off consecutive balls but the tweaker got the better of the batsman in the very next ball.

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South African hitter David Miller soon joined Gurkeerat in the dug out after being trapped plumb in front to give Ashwin his fourth wicket of the match. Pacer Ashok Dinda then sent back Farhaan Behardien (5) while Axar Patel (1) perished soon after to Thisara Perera.

Himachal Pradesh bowling all-rounder Rishi Dhawan and Kyle Abbott, played some lusty shots to take the side to 172/7 in their 20 overs.

For Pune, Ashiwn was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets while Dinda, Perera and Zampa chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 172/7 (Murali Vijay 59, Gurkeerat Singh 51, Hashim Amla 30, R. Ashwin 4/34) vs Rising Pune Supergiants.



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