Kolkata Knight Riders picked up their second win of the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League on Monday, as they downed the Punjab Kings by five wickets at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. KL Rahul’s side batted first, but could only add 123 runs, which ultimately proved to be too little for the chasing team despite a spirited bowling effort from Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi and the others. 

In just the second over, Punjab Kings got their first six of the evening as a top edge off Mayank Agarwal’s bat travelled beyond the boundary ropes. KL Rahul too joined the act as he caressed one off Sunil Narine’s bowling on the off side, as Punjab got to 27/0 after four overs. 

In the final powerplay over, Rahul got his first six of the evening as another outside edge flew past third man to crash into the advertising hoardings. The 29-year-old tried to repeat that shot next ball too, but this time miscued it straight into the hands of Sunil Narine. It didn’t take long for another wicket to fall, as new man Chris Gayle was dismissed first ball by Shivam Mavi, who ended his spell with figures of 1/13. 

Things got even worse for the batting side, as Deepak Hooda too couldn’t get going, edging one to the point fielder off Prasidh Krishna’s bowling. Kolkata Knight Riders sneaked in a few economical overs post the wickets, but Mayank Agarwal counter-attacked with a big six over mid-wicket to get the team score to 56 after 10. 

That however proved to be the last hurrah for Agarwal, as he was out caught in the deep attempting a big shot off Narine’s bowling. Punjab Kings’ Nicholas Pooran gave the team something to cheer about as he smacked a six and a four off Varun Chakravarthy’s second over. Pooran’s partner Moises Henriques however couldn’t get going, as he was knocked over by Narine in the 14th over. 

The next over saw Pooran also walk back to the pavilion, after losing his bearings against Chakrvarthy, leaving the Punjab Kings at 82/6 after 15. Shahrukh Khan added another six to that total shortly after, but he too couldn’t get going as he was dismissed next time he tried the big shot. 

Chris Jordan gave the batting team a glimmer of hope, as he struck a four and a six off Pat Cummins’ penultimate over. The English bowler added two more sixes in the final over, but was foxed by a slower ball next up. Nevertheless, Jordan’s late cameo ensured Punjab got the run rate beyond six to end the innings at 123/9. 

Turning Point

Shahrukh Khan’s wicket in the 18th over ensured that Punjab Kings could only manage 123 runs. If he could have batted for the rest of the innings, the score could have risen by 15-20 more runs which would have made a difference. 

Defending a small total, Punjab Kings got the perfect start as Nitish Rana was out for a first ball duck and his opening partner Shubman Gill was also caught plumb in the wicket by Mohammed Shami, leaving KKR at 10/2 after two overs. The third over brought a third wicket for Punjab, as Sunil Narine was out without scoring thanks to a spectacular running catch by Ravi Bishnoi. 

Despite those quick wickets, Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan came out all guns blazing as he got a six and a four off the very first over he faced. Rahul Tripathi at the other end also began positively, getting two fours off Arshdeep Singh’s bowling as KKR ended the powerplay at 42/3. 

The scoreboard kept ticking as Chris Jordan’s first over went for nine runs, as Kolkata got to 67/3 after nine overs.  Boundaries continued to flow as the evening dew made it difficult for Punjab’s bowlers to grip the ball, putting the chasing team in pole position after the halfway stage. 

A wicket however fell in the 11th over, as Tripathi tried to hit the bowler over his head but only found Shahrukh Khan in the deep. Despite the dismissal, KKR were ahead of the required rate by that time, as the scoreboard read 91/4 after 13 overs.  

Punjab picked up another wicket two overs later, as a direct hit from Arshdeep at short fine leg had new man Andre Russell short of his ground. Captain Eoin Morgan however crushed all hopes of a Punjab Kings revival as he hit Hooda for a six and a four to leave his team needing just nine runs in the final four overs. 

Former KKR captain Dinesh Karthik then finished off the job for his team with boundaries either side of the wicket against Arshdeep Singh, finishing the chase with more than three overs to spare. 

Punjab Kings play their next game on Friday, April 30 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.