It needed a special effort from someone to subdue the defending champions. That special contribution came from a most unlikely source, and a star was born at the PCA Stadium on Wednesday. Opener Paul Chandrasekhar Valthaty played an incredible innings to lead Kings XI Punjab to a shock win over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their IPL match. Valthaty smashed an unbeaten 120 off only 63 balls (19x4, 2x6) as the underdogs managed to overhaul the biggest total of the IPL season 4 so far, 188.
Valthaty, the 27-year-old Mumbai batsmen, took the CSK bowling by the scruff of the neck, tearing the much-vaunted attack to shreds with an astonishing array of strokes all around the wicket as the hosts reached 193/4 with five ball remaining.
Promoted up the order, Valthaty got going right from the start and kept bettering himself as the match progressed. He flicked, pulled, whacked, and slog-swept every bowler that came his way. There was only one chance that came CSK's way but Albie Morkel muffed a regulation catch while running backwards at long on off Ravichandran Ashwin and the team had to pay a rather heavy price. From thereon, there was no stopping this rather shy and obscure batsman. CSK captain MS Dhoni's multi-pronged attack was made to look pedestrian as the fire in Paul's belly consumed it.
The day had begun on a positive note for the home team as Praveen Kumar landed early blows, getting rid of Anirudha Srikkanth and Suresh Raina with the first two balls of the match. But Subramanium Badrinath (66; 56b, 8x4) and Murali Vijay (73; 43b; 6x4, 4x6) operated without any hassle, taking the team towards a really big total. Dhoni, then, took out the helicopter shot while providing the final flourish to the innings with belligerent 43 off 20 balls (4x4, 2x6).
The total looked beyond Kings XI's reach and it seemes CSK would carry on with their winning streak. Valthaty, though, had other ideas.