Looks can be deceptive. In a team that has big hitters like Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and George Bailey, Kings XI Punjab found an unlikely hero in the slightly-built Wriddhiman Saha as they successfully chased yet another total in excess of 200 and regain their No. 1 spot in the points table.
Saha, batting at No. 3 this season, may not have the build of a Kieron Pollard or Chris Gayle. But his batting abilities cannot be discounted. He laid the platform for Kings XI Punjab's successful chase in pursuit of Sunrisers Hyderabad's 205/5, winning by six wickets in the 19th over in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
After Sehwag fell to a soft dismissal, offering Bhuvneshwar Kumar a return catch for just four runs in the first over, Saha and opener Manan Vohra took on the fight to the opposition straightaway. The two shared 91 for the second wicket off just 6.5 overs to put KXIP on the victory path. Saha's 26-ball 54 with eight fours and two sixes fetched him the man of the match award.
It was not the first time KXIP chased down such a big target. They opened the League by surpassing Chennai Super Kings' 205 and followed it by making a mockery of Rajasthan Royals' 191, both coming in the first leg in UAE. What was astonishing about KXIP's run chase is that all their three big chases including Wednesday's have come in the 19th over.
KXIP, this season, have shown that any total can be chased down if done in a proper manner. They have had the batsmen to do it for them. There was a glimpse of another Glenn Maxwell show, though not to the same quantity as in the previous chases. Maxwell, though, came with another blitzkrieg while making 43 off 22 balls, five sixes featuring in his knock. And as has been a constant part in their batting, South African David Miller and captain George Bailey were there till the end to see the team through.
The match was probably won in the first 10 overs, after which KXIP were 131/3 and well on course. It yet another fantastic display of batting that was first set up by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha was responsible for SRH posting the fourth 200-plus score of this season. When 400-plus runs are to be scored in a match, bowlers are bound to be expensive. KXIP medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma had the third most expensive spells in IPL history, his 1/65 in SRH innings falling behind 0/66 by Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav's 0/65, both coming last year.
Madhya Pradesh's Ojha built on from a solid start given by Shikhar Dhawan (45) and Aaron Finch (20), and shared 81 for the third wicket with David Warner. Though Ojha hit seven sixes and four fours in his 36-ball 79, his running between wickets left a lot to be desired. His failure to go for the second run resulted in Warner's dismissal for 44 (23b, 3x4, 3x6).