By BV Swagath
Defending Champions Kolkata Knight Riders got their much needed victory against Kings XI Punjab to stay alive in the competition. It was a clinical performance from the hosts with the bat and the ball to ease to a 6-wicket victory with 10 balls to spare. Kings XI Punjab had a poor day on the field dropping catches and misfielding quite a bit.
Batting first after winning the toss, Kings XI Punjab got off to a decent start but couldn’t really take the KKR bowers to the cleaners. With meaningful contributions coming from most of its batsmen, Kings XI posted a healthy total of 149 for 6 at the Eden Gardens. The top scorer for Kings XI was young Manan Vohra who got 31 from 21 balls. It was a useful cameo of Gurukeerat Singh (28* from 15 balls) that lifted the total for the visitors.
For KKR, Jacques Kallis bowled tidily to record figures of 4-0-14-2. Mystery spinners Sunil Narine with 4-0-22-0 and Sachithra Senanayake with 4-1-29-0 kept things under a check. Chasing 150 in 20 overs, KKR were off to a dismal start with Azhar Mahmood taking the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan in consecutive deliveries in the 2nd over.
Kings XI Punjab couldn’t make further inroads as Jacques Kallis steadied the ship with Manvinder Bisla. Kallis scored 37 from 33 balls before he was caught behind trying to steer one to thirdman in the 11th over. The match was in the balance when Eoin Morgan walked out at 76 for 3 and the left-hander was extremely lucky when he missed a reverse sweep to Piyush Chawla and the ball despite brushing the leg stump couldn’t dislodge the bails. Morgan never looked back after that and with Bisla took KKR comfortably through to the target.
Morgan scored a sweetly struck 42 from 26 balls with 3 fours and 4 sixes while Bisla managed to remain unbeaten 51 from 44 balls (with 3 fours and 3 sixes). Kallis got the Man of the Match for his all-round show.
Toss and Teams: Kings XI Punjab have won the toss and elected to bat first against hosts Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. For the visitors, Azhar Mahmood comes back in the place of Luke Pomersbach.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir (C), Jacques Kallis, Manvinder Bisla (WK), Eoin Morgan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sachithra Senanayake, Sunil Narine, Sarabjit Ladda, Lakshmipathy Balaji
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist (C&WK), Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, David Hussey, Azhar Mahmood, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Harmeet Singh, Bhargav Bhatt