After three losses in a row, Kings XI Punjab finally got onto the IPL 5 table with a scrappy seven-wicket win over Pune Warriors, who looked inept as they were bowled out for 115 in 19 overs – the season's third-lowest total. Shaun Marsh scored a patient 64 off 54 balls in the chase but the win was set up by Dimitri Mascarenhas who took five Pune wickets to ensure a low target for the hosts on a lively PCA Stadium surface in Mohali. Defending a low total Pune needed to be sharp in the field but they let off Marsh and Piyush Chawla twice each apart from conceding five overthrows at the end.
Punjab needed a win desperately to mark a step towards a much-needed turnaround and they got it from their bowlers, in particular Mascarenhas. This was a win set up in the field, when Punjab excelled with pace and spin, allowing just ten boundaries and two sixes. Pune's top order has been a problem even though they had won two in two coming to Mohali, and the start highlighted how poor the side can be.
Sourav Ganguly sold Jesse Ryder down the river in the second over when he was two thirds of the way down the track, bringing to the crease Marlon Samuels. Parvinder Awana rapped Samuels on the knuckles and Praveen Kumar kept the West Indian tied down for six balls, before Mascarenhas prized out two wickets in his opening over. Ganguly's leading edge flew to Marsh at point and Samuels was put out of his misery by a delivery that beat the bat and hit the stumps. When Harmeet Singh hit Angelo Mathews flush in front of the stumps with his third ball, after the Sri Lanka allrounder had greeted him with a six, Pune had slumped to 51 for 4.
It was left to Robin Uthappa and Mithun Manhas to try and stitch together a recovery stand, but Mascarenhas' retur prompted Uthappa to have a go first ball, only to find Bipul Sharma on the move at deep square leg. There were just three fours and one six after the tenth over, aptly displaying how tight Punjab kept it. After a couple poor outings Chawla bowled a tidy spell, picking up Pune's form batsman Steven Smith with a googly (99 for 6).
With singles and the odd boundary Manhas tried to give the total some respectability, but just when it seemed he might cut loose – he struck the first ball of Mascarenhas' fourth over for six – Manhas tried a cute shot and was bowled. Rahul Sharma exited three balls later, heaving to deep midwicket, and Ashok Dinda's run-out meant Pune had failed to bat out 20 overs.
Punjab's chase toward a small total began disastrously, with Dinda cleaning up Paul Valthaty first ball. Marsh and Adam Gilchrist then put on 50 in 47 balls, 36 of which came in nine deliveries through boundaries to indicate just how many dot balls there were in that partnership. That pacifying stand ended when Smith intercepted a fierce slash at point from Gilchrist who was looking for his fourth boundary.
Marsh was handed a life on 31 when Ryder failed to collect a throw at the nonstriker's end, and ten runs later when Dinda dropped a diving catch in the deep. Marsh responded by clipping Ashish Nehra for four to reach his half-century off 48 balls and then struck his first six, a screaming pull shot off Rahul Sharma. Together with Chawla, who came in at Mandeep Singh's dismissal and was dropped in the deep twice, Marsh finished the chase with 14 balls.