For most of the tournament, it was the bowling attack that did the trick for the Kings XI Punjab. Defying all odds they produced one of the best pace bowling performance of the season to pull off a comprehensive win against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings. With Delhi’s batting resources being considerably thinner owing to the absence of Virender Sehwag and Ross Taylor, it seemed quite natural for the KXIP to stick to the same plan and opt for a track with lateral movement. But what they didn’t account for was Delhi’s pace battery. Even the vastly experienced Delhi’s stand in skipper Mahela Jayawardene acknowledged that he has never lead such a varied five man pace attack before.
Led by the Purple Cap holder Morne Morkel, the attack had had variation and speed in equal measures. In fact it was the relatively inexperienced Umesh Yadav who made early dents in the home team’s line-up. After getting the wicket of Mandeep Singh with a beautiful away swinger, his extra pace and bounce dismissed the two most accomplished batsmen in the Kings line up – Adam Gilchrist and David Hussey. His initial spell reduced the home team to 20/4 and effectively ended the game there.
Towards the end, it was the top dog Morkel who finished off the innings in style. Morkel, who for most of his career has been known for the bounce he generates, showed how much his yorkers have improved. At a time when the KXIP lower middle order, after rebuilding the innings looked to set up a competitive target, the South African paceman picked up three wickets in his final over to stifle the innings. The fast improving Varun Aaron and Irfan Pathan didn’t pick up any wickets but played a brilliant supporting role and kept the batmen under check.
With just 141 to defend, the hosts needed their fast men to make early dents. But the swashbuckling Delhi opener David Warner was in one of those moods and took the game away from KXIP. Ryan Harris and Azhar Mahmood returned with two wickets apiece but the failure of the Indian pace duo – Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana meant that the Punjab team got ousted from the tournament. Quite ironically, a ploy which won many games for the KXIP this season, became a reason for their downfall in the final hurdle.