MOHALI: Wriddhiman Saha hit a scintillating half-century as Kings XI Punjab managed a formidable 181 for 5 against Delhi Daredevils in an Indian Premier League encounter, here tonight.
Wriddhiman's 33-ball-52 which comprised seven boundaries was well-complemented by a 44-ball-52 from Marcus Stoinis after Zaheer Khan put the home team into bat.
The Test specialist, who has had uneventful IPL since the start of the 2015 edition finally got a score of significance after 19 innings. Incidentally, it was his first 50 plus score after his century in the 2014 IPL final.
There were two significant partnerships in the KXIP innings. 58 for the third wicket between Stoinis and Wriddhiman while the Bengal stumper also enjoyed a quickfire 46-run stand in 4.1 overs with Glenn Maxwell (16).
For the Daredevils, Chris Morris (2/30 in 4 overs) was the most successful bowler while skipper Zaheer Khan (1/25 in 3 overs) had a decent outing. Mohammed Shami (1/34 in 3 overs) had a lean day so did the consistent leg-spinner Amit Mishra (0/37 in 4 overs).
The last 6 overs produced 75 runs for the Kings XI Punjab who posted their highest team total of season-9 so far.
Murali Vijay (25, 16 balls) started with a flurry of boundaries as he was in a mood to punish Morris, who finally got his revenge when KXIP skipper's short arm pull was brilliantly snapped by Carlos Brathwaite standing at mid-wicket.
Hashim Amla (1) and Stoinis during their short and uneventful stay at the wicket could have got run-out on three occasions. Finally, Amla was indeed run-out as he failed to return to his crease bringing Wriddhiman in.
Wriddhiman started with a square cut off Mohammed Shami while Stoinis lofted Nadeem for a big straight six. The second six that the Aussie hit was off a slower delivery from Brathwaite.
The duo added 50 runs in 33 balls as the 100 run of the team came in 12.5 overs.
Stoinis's well deserved half-century his first in four IPL matches came off 42 balls. His innings had three fours and two sixes.
But his joy was shortlived as skipper Zaheer removed him when he was holed out at the long-on by Sanju Samson for 53 off 44 balls.
Once, Stoinis was out, Wriddhiman took it upon himself to accelerate the scoring. He hit Mishra inside out and then pulled him for good measure.
But standout was the 16th over where he hit Zaheer for three boundaries in the onside. A couple of pull-shots and a one behind the square.
The 50 came off 29 balls when he cover drove Morris for a double.
Such was Wriddhiman's domination that the normally pugnacious Glenn Maxwell decided to play the second fiddle.