Kings XI Punjab 181-4 (Karthik 69) beat
Kochi Tuskers Kerala 178-7 by six wickets
Indian Premier League 2011, Kochi
The Kings XI Punjab kept their own Indian Premier League 2011 hopes alive at the expense of the Kochi Tuskers Kerala with a measured six-wicket win in Kochi.
Mahela Jayawardene signed off ahead of Sri Lanka's tour of England with an excellent half-century to guide Kochi to 178 for seven before his former side Punjab, led by 69 in 33 balls from Dinesh Karthik, chased down the runs with seven balls to spare.
Experienced Australian David Hussey won the match in fine style by hitting Shanthakumaran Sreesanth straight down the ground for a majestic six to ensure the match did not go down to the wire.
Jayawardene set things up beautifully for the home side, hitting 76 in 52 balls with eight fours and two sixes while he was well supported by opening partner Brendon McCullum (32) and Owais Shah, who hit 23 in 12 deliveries.
Bipul Sharma grabbed two wickets for Punjab while there was a wicket apiece for Ryan Harris, Shalabh Srivastava and Piyush Chawla.
When Adam Gilchrist (9) and Paul Valthaty (17) fell relatively cheaply, Kochi were on top but the Kings XI Punjab got themselves back into the match thanks to 42 in 30 balls from Shaun Marsh and Karthik's boundary-ridden assault.
On the day that he was overlooked as a back-up wicket-keeper for the tour to the Caribbean, he smashed five sixes, as well as seven boundaries, to haul Kings XI back into contention.
RP Singh returned a haul of four for 25 but it proved to be in vain as the cool head of Hussey, unbeaten on 21, and Mandeep Singh, who made 15 in ten balls, ensured that the Kings XI Punjab still have a chance of reaching the play-offs.
© Cricket World 2011