Jai Ho Jayawardene! The Kings XI Punjab were singing out loud at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on Sunday.
After all, it was Mahela Jayawardene’s splendid century that ended the losing streak of Kings XI Punjab as they registered a convincing eight-wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders.
It was only destiny that Jayawardene played in the match. He was not a part of the final eleven till minutes before the start of the match but as luck would have it regular opener Shaun Marsh injured his back during the warm-up and the Sri Lankan was drafted in his place.
And as he himself revealed at the end of the match, he asked the captain and coach at the innings that he wanted to open the innings and his braveheart approach certainly worked wonders.
Chris Gayle’s blistering 42-ball 88 had taken the hosts to 200 for three in their 20 overs, the highest total posted in the IPL at the Eden Gardens.
However, Punjab, reeling with just one victory from eight games, didn’t lose heart.
Set a huge 201 for victory, Punjab, riding on Jayawardene’s cracking innings of 110 from 59 balls, chased down Kolkata’s huge score with ten balls to spare.
It was Jaywardene at his fluent best as he found gaps at will to score boundaries at regular intervals and the Punjab innings appeared to be a cruise at times.
Jayawardene also became the second Sri Lankan after Sanath Jayasuriya to score a century in the Indian Premier League and also second centurion for Kings XI Punjab team after Shaun Marsh.
In the second match of the day, it was Paul Collingwood, who stole the limelight with a match-winning half-century for Delhi Daredevils.
Collingwood’s power-packed 75 from 46 balls and three wicket hauls from Pradeep Sangwan and Amit Mishra helped Delhi Daredevils script an impressive 37-run win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Collingwood played sensibly in the middle overs before cutting loose in the end to take Delhi to 184 for five in their 20 overs.
Bangalore never got off the blocks and despite Jacques Kallis’s fifth half-century of the tournament, they slumped to a 37-run victory.
The victory saw Delhi jump to second in the table, while Bangalore slipped a place to third.