A strong batting effort from Kings XI Punjab went in vain as Kolkata Knight Riders ran out victors by 28 runs in a high-scoring affair at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.


Electing to bowl first, KXIP were at the receiving end after a tight first over and that momentum carried through the KKR innings. Sunil Narine started the blitz, targeting debutant Varun Chakravarthy as he smashed him for three sixes in the second over. Chris Lynn, too, joined in on the act and clubbed two boundaries off Mohammed Shami’s bowling in the following over. But the speedster had the last laugh as the opener misread Shami’s length and skied one straight up into the starlit sky getting the Shers’ their first breakthrough.

Sadda Sher
Despite wickets tumbling at regular intervals, Mayank Agarwal maintained his cool and kept the Shers in the contest for as long as he possibly could with a stylish innings of 58 off just 34 deliveries that included six boundaries and a maximum.

Soon after, Kings’ other debutant, Hardus Viljoen dismissed Narine in similar fashion, with KL Rahul making full use of his gloves to haul in a difficult catch. The two quick blows managed to bring KKR’s scoring rate under control and they finished the powerplay 53/2.

But Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa rebuilt the innings and upped the ante in the 12th over scoring 54 over the next three overs to complete a century-stand. However, a brilliant over from the debutant Chakravarthy, where he got rid of the dangerous Rana on 63, followed by another tidy over from Viljoen brought the Shers back into the contest.

A brilliant yorker from Shami on the final ball of the 17th over seemed to have gotten rid of the dangerous Andre Russell, but owing to a fielding violation, the West Indian earned a new lease of life. The all-rounder did not waste his opportunity and scored 45 of the next 12 deliveries that he faced, including five sixes and three boundaries, propelling KKR’s score to 218/4 at the innings break.

Unha De Sher
Andre Russell’s innings of 48 runs in just 17 deliveries took KKR to a massive total of 218 runs and he also picked up two prized wickets with his bowling in what was a brilliant game-winning contribution from the all-rounder.

The chase got off to a bad start as Rahul got beaten for pace by Lockie Ferguson in the second over and lobbed one straight to the mid-off fielder. Mayank Agarwal came in next and batted with a positive approach picking 12 off Prasidh Krishna’s second over to get the team back on track and Chris Gayle, too, counter-attacked and scored 10 off the final two deliveries of the fourth over to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Captain Dinesh Karthik made a change in the bowling department and brought on Gayle’s compatriot Russell into the attack and it paid off immediately, as the Universe Boss was cramped for room on his pull-shot and lobbed an easy catch at mid-off, departing after scoring 20 runs off 13 balls. His second over yielded another wicket, as a slower one from the West Indian caught the top-edge of Sarfaraz Khan’s bat and looped up in the air for an easy catch for Karthik, as KXIP were reduced to 60/3 in the eighth over.

After two quiet overs, David Miller and Agarwal accelerated the scoring and picked up 56 runs in the next five, leaving KXIP to get 86 runs off the final five overs of the game. During this spell, Agarwal also completed a well-deserved half-century, but departed soon after, as he missed wrong ‘un from Piyush Chawla.

Turning Point
Shami’s brilliant yorker on the final ball of the 17th over seemed to have gotten rid of the dangerous Andre Russell but an error in field placement left only three outfielders inside the circle, rendering the delivery a no-ball, giving Russell a second chance and the all-rounder made KXIP pay for that error.

Despite Mandeep Singh and Miller picking up 25 runs in the 17th and 18th over, the required rate kept towering before becoming mathematically impossible midway through the 19th over. Despite the equation, Mandeep and Miller, who also finished with a half century, continued to bat with a positive mindset and the team eventually finished 190/4.