Chandigarh: A 69-run partnership between Thisara Perera and George Bailey helps Kings XI Punjab beat Hobart Hurricanes by five wickets with 14-balls to sparein their Champions League T20 opener at Mohali on Friday.
Chasing a modest 145 at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, KXIP's top-order batsmen shot themselves in the foot and had it not been for the George Bailey-Thisara Perera stand, things could been embarrassing for the IPL7 runners-up.
Seeking a return to the Indian team, a fit-looking Virender Sehwag started the hara-kiri act which was promptly taken up by Wriddhiman Saha (11), David Miller (0), Manan Vohra (18) and Maxwell himself. While Sehwag cut the first ball of the innings bowled by Dough Bollinger straight into the hands of Cameron Boyce at third man, the others were no different falling to reckless shots.
At 77 for 5 Parera joined skipper and both blended aggression and caution, finishing off the job in 17.4 overs and adding 69 for the fifth wicket. A lot of credit should go to Bailey for guiding Perera properly. Bailey and Perera were remained unbeaten on 34 and 35 respectively.
Earlier in the day, Perera also returned 2 for 17, helping the hosts restrict the Hurricanes to 144 for 6 after asking the Australian team to bat.
Perera, who shone with both bat and ball in Sri Lanka's 2-1 ODI win against Pakistan recently, and other KXIP bowlers exploited the home conditions to the hilt. Left-arm spinner Akshar Patel cleaned up Tim Paine for 11 after the Hurricanes captain and Ben Dunk got off to slow start adding just 15 runs in 4.2 overs.
Perera, who took Australia tearaway pacer Mitchell Johnson's place in the side, then got in on the act and his quick wickets of Dunk (26) and Aiden Blizzard (27) pushed the Hurricanes on the back foot.
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik (14) also failed to revive his team finding George Bailey at midwicket off legspinner Karanveer Singh and leaving the Aussies tottering at 78 for 4 in the 13th over.
Travis Birt (28) and Jonathan Wells (28) added a quick 52 runs for the fifth wicket to bring their team back and at one time it looked like the Hurricanes will easily go past 150. However, Patel, Anureet Singh and Parvinder Awana combined together to concede just 16 runs in the last three overs to keep the Hurricanes at least 15 short of what they should have scored.
Anureet, the Railways medium pacer, was impressive on debut for KXIP, giving away 25 runs in four overs. He failed to take any wickets but his death-overs bowling was a breath of fresh air.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab have won the toss and have opted to field.
Kings XI Punjab: Virender Sehwag, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey (Capt.), Thisara Perera, Akshar Patel, Karanveer Singh, Parvinder Awana, Anureet Singh
Hobart Hurricanes: Tim Paine (Capt. & wk), Ben Dunk, Aiden Blizzard, Shoaib Malik, Travis Birt, Jonathan Wells, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Cameron Boyce, Ben Laughlin, Doug Bollinger
Hobart Hurricanes - 144/6 (Wells 28, Birt 28, Perera 2-17)
Kings XI Punjab - 146/5 (Maxwell 43, Perera 35*, Bailey 34*, Bollinger 2-30)
Result - Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wickets
Points - Kings XI Punjab 4, Hobart Hurricanes 0
MOM - Thisara Perera (Kings XI Punjab)