Karthik, Marsh star in Punjab victory

Dinesh Karthik smashed five sixes in his 33-ball 69 to power Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket victory over Kochi Tuskers Kerala in an Indian Premier League match on Friday.

He put on 111 for the third wicket with Australian Shaun Marsh (42) as Punjab surpassed Kochi’s total of 178-7 with seven balls to spare for their fifth win in 11 games of the Twenty20 tournament.

Punjab were struggling at 31-2 after paceman Rudra Pratap Singh dismissed skipper Adam Gilchrist (nine) and Paul Valthaty (17), but Karthik and Marsh shattered Kochi’s hopes with their big-hitting.

Karthik, who reached his half-century with a six over mid-wicket off spinner Ravindra Jadeja, also hit seven fours while Marsh cracked two sixes and five fours in his 30-ball knock.

Singh got his third wicket when he removed Karthik, superbly caught by skipper Mahela Jayawardene in the covers, before holding a return catch to dismiss Marsh in the space of three runs.

Australian David Hussey (21 not out) finished the match with a straight six off paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

Chennai and Mumbai have already made sure of the semi-finals with 16 points each. They are followed by Bangalore (15), Kolkata (14), Rajasthan (11), Punjab (10), Kochi (10), Pune (eight), Delhi (eight) and Deccan (six).

Sri Lankan Jayawardene earlier hit two sixes and eight fours in his 52-ball 76 to help Kochi post a challenging total. He added 93 for the opening wicket with New Zealander Brendon McCullum, who hit a 27-ball 32.

Jayawardene, who reached his half-century with a six off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, was run out in the last over. Owais Shah was the other main scorer with a 12-ball 23.

Brief scores:
Kochi Tuskers Kerala 178-7 in 20 overs (M. Jayawardene 76, B. McCullum 32, O. Shah 23; B. Sharma 2-32) lost to Kings XI Punjab 181-4 in 18.5 overs (D. Karthik 69, S. Marsh 42, D. Hussey 21 not out; RP Singh 4-25) by six wickets. — AFP

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