The Kings XI Punjab did what they have been doing all season – win games – with the Delhi Daredevils also sticking to their pattern of play in an inconsequential IPL 2014 game in Mohali on Sunday.
The penultimate game of the league phase did not provide too many fireworks, with the Daredevils putting in yet another disappointing performance, managing just 115 all out in 18.1 overs, with only Kevin Pietersen (58) holding his hand up with the bat.
The reply was easier than an apple pie really for this formidable Kings XI batting lineup, despite failures from Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell, as Man of the Match Manan Vohra (47) and David Miller (47 n.o.) saw their side home in 13.5 overs with seven wickets to spare.
The win means Kings XI finish the first phase of IPL 2014 with a thoroughly impressive 22 points from 14 matches, a record total in IPL, with the Punjab franchise suffering just three defeats all season. The Daredevils have grabbed the wooden spoon for a second straight season, after their ninth straight loss, while winning just two matches in 14, and Gary Kirsten, Pietersen and co. will need to do some major introspection before the start of next season.
Kings XI will now turn their attentions towards Qualifier 1, which they play on Tuesday against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens – win that and you are in the IPL 2014 final.
The chase did not begin in hunky-dory fashion for KXIP, with Sehwag and Maxwell, the man everyone came to see, falling within the first four overs. Sehwag found an outside edge off Mohammed Shami in the third over, before Maxwell fell for a duck, after mistiming an attacking shot to Pietersen at mid-off off Jaydev Unadkat.
From there, though, it was all KXIP as Vohra (47, 38b, 4x4, 2x6) and David Miller (47 n.o., 34b, 4x4, 2x6) put on a big 96-run partnership to shut out the Delhi Daredevils, with the latter staying there until the end.
Earlier, the Delhi Daredevils batting promised so much early on, before yet again crashing quicker than a house of cards.
Mayank Agarwal, opening with Pietersen, fell early, but the DD skipper and Dinesh Karthik put on a quickfire 30-run partnership from three overs to give the away side some momentum.
Karthik came in and cracked three boundaries, while Pietersen also found the ropes with frequency as the hopes of a big score in Mohali were lifted.
However, the confidence level in the Delhi camp is really low at the moment, not surprising considering their massive losing streak, and a couple of quick wickets saw that cookie crumble quickly yet again.
Karthik (13, 7b, 3x4) found a leading edge off Parwinder Awana (3-1-15-2) in the sixth over, with Kedar Jadhav also falling in the same over, finding Vohra at mid-off perfectly after failing to get enough elevation off a decently hit shot.
Manoj Tiwary and Pietersen looked to settle things down a bit, and they seemed to be doing it for 21 deliveries, only to stick that knife in themselves with an awful mix-up, leading to Tiwary getting run out.
Pietersen looked to counter-attack, despite DD being four down for 67, taking Akshar Patel (4-0-28-2) for three consecutive boundaries, but JP Duminy could not quite get settled at the crease, falling for 8 to Karanveer Singh (4-0-22-2), to put further pressure on Pietersen (58, 41b, 9x4).
The DD skipper just could not carry on till the end, however, losing his wicket in the 14th over, lbw to Rishi Dhawan, with the Daredevils caving in rather quickly and tamely after that.