IPL 2016: Knight Riders humble Kings XI in one-sided affair

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Courtesy IPL

IPL 2016: Knight Riders humble Kings XI in one-sided affair

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Debarshee Mitra

04/19/2016

Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir were among the runs again as Kolkata beat Punjab by 6 wickets to register their 3rd win of the tournament. Earlier on in the evening, KXIP scored 138 runs on the back of a valiant 56 from Marsh, as the KKR spinners stifled the Punjab batting at Mohali.

Brief Scores: KXIP 138/8 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 56(41)*, Murli Vijay 26(22); Sunil Narine 2/22, Morne Morkel 2/27) v KKR 141/4 in 17.1 overs (Robin Uthappa 53(28), Gautam Gambhir 34(34); Pardeep Sahu 2/18, Axar Patel 2/19)

With a chaseable target of 139 in front of them, KKR started their innings strong and went all guns blazing. The very first ball was sent to the ropes by Uthappa and the floodgates never closed thereafter. Uthappa was the destructor-in-chief and Sandeep Sharma had to bear the brunt of his blade. After conceding 12 in his first over, the 22-year old conceded 13 runs in his second over with Uthappa making merry. Purple cap holder, Gautam Gambhir joined the party in the 4th over, scoring his first boundary and adding to the soaring run-rate.

The fifth over though, provided Punjab with a chance to claw their way back into the game. Uthappa played a straight shot back to the bowler who deflected the ball to mid-on. Gambhir had raced almost midway down the pitch, but David Miller missed the stumps with his throw. Gambhir lived to fight another day, and the two openers took the scoreboard to 65 at the end of the powerplay.

Uthappa at the other end, looked in a hurry and brought up his fifty in the seventh over, off just 24 balls. But the honeymoon did not last long for Uthappa as Pardeep Sahu picked up his wicket. Uthappa mistimed his sweep and got caught plumb in front of the wicket. Manish Pandey came out to the crease and with the required run-rate loitering down near 5, it all looked like a formality.

But Pardeep Sahu had clearly not read the script on the night. A deftly pitched googly caught Gambhir off-guard and Maxwell grabbed a beautiful running catch to send back the captain. Just when Punjab hopes had started to reignite again, Pandey and Shakib played sensibly to avoid any collapse. But with runs not coming freely anymore, Manish Pandey lost his focus and got castled by Axar Patel. However, Suryakumar Yadav came in and saw the team home with Yusuf Pathan, after Shakib fell to Axar.

Earlier in the evening, with 11 of the 12 chasing teams registering wins in this year’s IPL so far, Gautam Gambhir had the simplest of decisions to make after winning the toss. The Knight Riders chose to field with an unchanged eleven. David Miller in the Punjab camp also decided to stick to the same side that beat the Pune Supergiants on Sunday.

From the word go, Murali Vijay looked in good nick for the home side. First he lofted Morne Morkel, over the bowler’s head, with a straight bat in the fourth ball of the innings for his first boundary. Then welcomed Shakib to the bowling crease in the third over with a delightful punch bisecting the point and the cover.

Despite Vijay’s sporadic boundaries, the scoring rate remained below a run-a-ball. Manan Vohra, who had walked out to open the innings with Vijay looked impatient with the slow run rate, and Morne Morkel got the reward. The tall South-African bowled an angling length ball and Vohra, looking to clear the infield with a flick, could only to find Shakib at deep-midwicket.

Shaun Marsh came in and hit a cracking cover-drive off the first delivery he faced. There were some more positive signs as Vijay sent Morkel and Shakib to the fence and the run-rate creeped towards the 7 run mark. But one tight Sunil Narine over was the spanner-in-the-works that Gambhir was waiting for. The KKR captain brought in Piyush Chawla, and the leggie troubled the batsmen right from the first ball and got his deserved reward on the fifth ball. Vijay, in his attempt to cut the ball, was cramped for room as Chawla spun it right back into the right-hander’s stumps.

Punjab decided to shuffle their batting order and sent in Saha at no. 4, but the move failed when the keeper-batsman nicked one back to Uthappa, and Narine got his second wicket of the evening. With 3 down for just 62 runs at the end of 11 overs, Marsh and Miller chose to target Chawla. The pair milked 10 runs off Chawla’s third over, playing smart cricketing shots.

Gambhir reacted by bringing on his fourth spinner of the night in Yusuf Pathan, and it paid immediate dividends. David Miller, who has had a forgettable tournament so far, continued his poor form as he departed on Pathan’s first ball of the game. KXIP stuttered at 72/4 as Marsh looked on from the non-striker’s end.

Taking charge of the situation Marsh started to spray the ball to the boundary rope as he upped the run-rate. But the fightback didn’t last long with Marsh losing another partner in Glen Maxwell. Maxwell looked desperate to play the reverse sweep or the switch hit ever since he came to the crease. And he got out playing the latter. Maxwell couldn’t clear the infield as his bullet of a shot found Piyush Chawla, who made no mistake at cover.

Marsh continued to swim against the tide and ended up with 56 runs with help from Abbott, who finished the innings on a high.

Shoaib Malik or Johnson Charles? Who will score more runs?

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