The Punjab Kings were handed their first loss of the Tata Indian Premier League 2022 by KKR, who chased down a 138-run target with six wickets and 33 deliveries to spare.

The Punjab Kings were put in to bat by the Kolkata Knight Riders. While the team sped to a healthy score in the powerplay, they lost a flurry of wickets that would come to bite them back later in the innings.

The team lost captain Mayank Agarwal early on, but that announced Sri Lankan top-order batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s arrival. He was on song from the word go, and his nine-ball stay at the crease had six hits to the rope, with three fours and sixes each. He scored 31 at a strike rate of 344.44, pushing the team to 62/3 at the end of the powerplay.

Dhawan also departed at the penultimate delivery of the powerplay for 16 (15), and Liam Livingstone, who came in at Dhawan’s departure, could also only add on 19 (16). Despite having a healthy strike rate of over 10 in the powerplay, the quick wickets had set the tone for a slippery slope for the team, unfortunately.

The middle order consisting of Raj Bawa (11 off 13) and Shahrukh Khan (0 off 5), also could not add much to the scoreboard, and the team was staring at a total with a run rate of less than six in the first innings.

However, Kagiso Rabada, coming in at number 10, had different plans and presented the fans a cameo to remember him by with the bat. He scored 25 (16) with four fours and a six, pushing the team to a total of 137/10 in 18.2 overs.

It was Umesh Yadav who caused maximum destruction with the ball for the Kolkata Knight Riders, taking out Agarwal, Livingstone, Harpreet Brar and Rahul Chahar to become the highest wicket taker against PBKS, overtaking Sunil Narine. Yadav finished with numbers of 4-1-23-4, including a double wicket maiden.

In response, the Punjab Kings fought to keep the pressure on the KKR batters. At first, the Riders were reduced to 14/1 in two overs and 38/2 in under five overs, with Rabada taking out Ajinkya Rahane (12 off 11) first, followed by Odean Smith removing Venkatesh Iyer for 3 off 7.

Shreyas Iyer’s 15-ball 26 steadied the ship for KKR along with Sam Billings, who eventually ended with 24* from 23. Their partnership came to an end with twin strikes from Rahul Chahar, who sent back the KKR captain and Nitish Rana, who scored a two-ball duck, bowling a double-wicket maiden in the seventh over.

At 51/4 in seven overs, Andre Russell made his way to the crease, and chased down the total with nonchalance. His unbeaten 70-run knock came off just 31 deliveries, laced with two fours and eight sixes.

Russell finished the chase off with a six, taking his team to 141/4 in 14.3 overs. Rahul was the most successful bowler for the Kings tonight, finishing with figures of 4-1-13-2.

The Punjab Kings will next meet Chennai Super Kings, who had faced a similar defeat at the hands of KKR in the season opener, on Sunday, April 3 at Mumbai’s Brabourne stadium.