Kings XI Punjab pulls off a two-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in a humdinger
The 17th match of the IPL 5 played at Eden Gardens on Sunday turned out to be quite a cliff-hanger in which Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) held their nerves and pipped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by two runs despite Sunil Narine bravura performance.
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to bowl first on the slow pitch which had plenty of zip for spinners. Sunil Narine, who opened the bowling from the other end, exploited the pitch to the hilt. He winkled out Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh in the consecutive overs. Gilchrist tried to smash him over the mid-wicket against the spin but he got top-edge was caught while Marsh was deceived with a ripper of a delivery which turned the other way and rattled his stumps.
Mandeep Singh and David Hussey compiled a fine partnership of 51runs off next eight overs and KXIP kicked on to the decent total. They started slowly as KXIP’s innings was in disarray but they kept caning boundaries and occasional six at right intervals to not let run-rate take the beating.
Hussey and Mandeep whacked one six each. Mandeep was snared by canny Shakib-Al-Hasan, who earned Man-of-the-Match, in the last match, and Hussey was run-out soon. After 15 overs, KXIP were 4-87.
Jaydev Unadkat went for 32 runs in three overs and he was slammed for few sixes by KXIP batsmen. Bipul Sharma walloped a six off Unadkat but in the next over Rajat Bhatia chalked up a couple of wickets, including Dimitri Mascarenhas, and KXIP. Sunil Narine chiselled a couple of wickets in the first over of his second spell. After 18 overs, KXIP were reduced to 8-104 and were looking to score under 120. But the 19th over bowled by Jacques Kallis proved to be the turning point of their innings, and later turning point of the match, as he was cracked for 19 runs. Piyush Chawla clouted him for a straight six while Harmeet Singh biffed a couple of boundaries.
Sunil Narine grabbed another wicket in the last over to bag the five-wicket haul but Bhargav Bhatt finished the innings in the splendid style by belting the last ball of the innings for a six. After 20 overs, KXIP scored 9-134.
Gambhir got KKR innings to a decent start as he bludgeoned a couple of boundaries in the second over off Bhatt but Bhatt roared back to prise out Kallis. Paras Dogra took a fantastic catch at covers. Gambhir had gained confidence after his match-winning half-century against Royal Challengers Banglore (RCB) and he was batting with an air of exuberance. In the third over, he clubbed two boundaries off Praveen Kumar but his sparky innings came to an end in the next over when he was caught and bowled by Mascarenhas.
Manoj Tiwary and Manvinder Bisla took Kolkata’s total to 2-73 after 11 overs. Both the batsmen relied on singles and doubles and didn’t take any gratuitous risk as the target wasn’t imposing and all it needed to overhaul the target was sensible batting.
Bhatt trapped Tiwary in front of the stumps in the 12th over and Chawla turned the match on its head when in the next over, he captured two wickets. He cleaned up Bisla and then castled destructive Yusuf Pathan for a duck. In his next over, he nipped out Shakib and KXIP were in the driver’s seat.
Debabrata Das unleashed a breezy cameo as he smote three boundaries and a six. In the last two overs, KKR needed only 13 overs with das and Ryan ten Doeschate batting and it looked like KKR will sail through. But, Praveen Kumar bowled a brilliant 19th over; he bowled in the block-hole consistently and conceded only four runs. Still with only nine runs needed in the final over, KKR were favourites.
The young Harmeet Singh showed creditable composure and mixed his pace and length with remarkable poise. He bowled Doeschate on the third ball. Equation came down to seven runs from the last three balls but new batsman Rajat Bhatia couldn’t get the ball away and only picked up a double and a single which left Das to hit the boundary off the last ball to win the match.
Das, who played magnificently, could only muster a single off the last ball and KKR lost the match by two runs.
Brief scorecard: Kings XI Punjab 134 for 9 (Mandeep Singh 38; Narine 5-19 ) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 132 for 7 (Das 35; Chawla 3-18) by 2 runs
Man-of-the-Match: Sunil NarineTags: Adam Gilchrist . Gautam Gambhir . IPL . Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) . Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) . Praveen Kumar . Sunil Narine
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