Mohali, Apr 13: Little known Mumbaikar Paul Valthaty stole the limelight with a blistering unbeaten 120 off only 63 deliveries as last year's wooden spooners Kings XI Punjab caused the first upset of the fourth edition of IPL with a six wicket victory over defending champions Chennai Super Kings.
Valthaty who has no first-class experience and till date has played only one List A match for Mumbai way back in 2006 hit 19 boundaries and two sixes as KXIP chased an improbable 189 needed for victory with five balls to spare.
Earlier, Adam Gilchrist elected to field and CSK made 188 for four courtesy a smashing 74 off only 43 balls by opener Murali Vijay and an useful 66 by S Badrinath and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's little cameo that fetched him 43 off only 20 balls.
The day however belonged to 27-year old Valthaty who had played for India colts during the early part of 2002 before an eye injury kept him out of cricket. Having played a couple of matches for Rajasthan Royals in an earlier edition with scant success, Valthaty has certainly shot into limelight like the lesser known players like Manish Pandey, Swapnil Asnodkar, Manpreet Singh Gony had done in the earlier editions.
His century came off only 52 deliveries and it was an exhibition of clean hitting. Everything came from the meat of the blade. Also he showed that he can play the pull-shot to good effect when Tim Southee banged one short.
Valthaty, who had featured in just 12 T20s before with a highest score of 70, made a difficult total look easy to achieve.
The Indian captain used as many as seven bowlers to defend the total, but Valthaty ensured that he stayed till the end to accomplish the target.
Chennai bowlers including off spinner R Ashwin, Sri Lankan spinner Suraj Randiv, medium pacers Tim Southee and Albie Morkel came in for some harsh treatment from the batsman who hit a flurry off boundaries in the initial overs as his skipper Adam Gilchrist was a mere spectator at the other end.
Along with his skipper, Valthaty added 61 runs in 5.5 overs where the normally brutal Australian contributed only 19. He was holed out in the deep by Suraj Randiv off Albie Morkel's bowling. With Shaun Marsh joining him, Valthaty never let the momentum slip away adding another 39 runs before Marsh was run-out due to a mix-up while going for the second run.
With the score at 136 for two, suddenly CSK showed signs of making a comeback as Sunny Singh (20) was caught trying to go for an ugly hoick and southpaw Abhishek Nayar (0) soon followed adjudged leg before by Tim Southee.
But Dinesh Karthik (21 not out) batted sensibly during their unbroken 57 run partnership. It was Karthik who finished the proceedings with a huge six off left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati.
The worst part for CSK was their ploy of opening the bowling with Ravichandran Ashwin unfortunately didn't work today as the offie went for 37 runs in his four wicketless overs. Southee fared no better giving away 33 from four while Morkel took some stick giving away 38 from his three overs. The normally effective Scott Styris didn't get another over after giving away 13 in his first over.
Earlier during the first innings, KXIP new ball bowler Praveen Kumar provided the perfect start removing opener Shrikant Aniruddha (0) and Suresh Raina (0) off the first two deliveries. However from 0/2, Badrinath and Vijay steadied the ship before launching a furious assault especially discarded opener Vijay.
They added 124 runs for the third wicket before Vijay who looked good for a century was stumped when Piyush Chawla fired one down the leg-side and he was stumped by Gilchrist.
In came skipper Dhoni and he launched into Praveen hitting him for two sixes and two fours in the 18th over of the innings. The CSK captain was dismissed by Ryan Harris of the last delivery of the 20th over. Having scored an imposing 188 for four, they had very little idea of what lay in store for them till Valthaty came into the picture. PTI