King's XI drubs Royal Challengers; emerge on top of IPL table

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Bangalore, May 5 (UNI) Conquering a struggling Bangalore Royal Challengers with ease, King's XI Punjab emerged on top of the league table with an easy six wicket win in the DLF-Indian Premier league at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here today.

With this win Punjab joined Rajasthan Royals with five wins in seven matches at the top of the league table, while Royal Challengers crashed to their fifth defeat in as many matches.

Now they face an uphill task of making to the semifinals, needing an all win record in the remaining seven matches.

Chasing an easy target of 127, Punjab played with ease as young Aussie batsmen Shaun Marsh (39) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (31) took the visitors to an easy victory with ten balls to spare.

Earlier, the weak batting line up of Royal Challengers was exposed yet again as they could only manage a disappointing 126, with skipper Rahul Dravid being the lone batsman who stood tall amongst the ruins hitting a masterly 66 in 51 balls.

He had hit nine boundaries and a six but could not help the locals pose any serious challenge to Yuvraj Singh's men who made a spectacular progress after a negative start.

Kings XI lost James Hopes early in the second over, but Marsh and Sarwan who played with confidence put the result beyond doubt and always kept the target within sight.

Sarvan was more authoritative of the duo, negotiating the Bangalore bowlers with ease. He struck four fours and a six off Praveen in his 30 ball essay and added a match winning 54 for the second wicket in 44 balls.

Marsh, who justified Coach Tom Moody's selecting bringing the legendary wicketkeeper Rodney Marsh's son as replacement with his consistent display. He had struck a match winning 84 against strong Delhi in his first match. Marsh struck 39 in 34 balls hitting four fours and a six.

Speedster S Sreesanth, who rattled the Bangalore innings claiming two wickets in his first over and took a fine catch, was adjudged the man of the match.

Despite Punjab losing Yuvraj cheaply, dismissed by Praveen, after Sarvan returned to pavilion, Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardhane and Marsh kept their cool. Marsh was the fourth batsman to get out. Pathan hit the winning runs after tying the scores with a huge six off Kumble.

(Ed: Pickup suitably from SPM 5) UNI RS RC PM0040

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