- Kings XI Punjab inflicted a massive 9-wicket loss on Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens.
- Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul were involved in a 116-run partnership for the opening wicket.
- Andrew Tye was KXIP’s best bowler once again with figures of 2 for 30.
Kings XI Punjab sealed off an easy victory at Eden Gardens in Kolkata as they put in one of their best performances of the VIVO Indian Premier League season to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 9 wickets. With this win, the Kings now replace the Knight Riders at the top of the league table.
Keeping with the trend of keeping the opposition guessing, captain Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and chose to bowl first on a hot afternoon. He felt that on the hard Eden Gardens pitch the chasing team is always in with a chance and his openers, Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle, proved him right.
After losing fellow opener Sunil Narine cheaply, Chris Lynn, who had previously been struggling against spinners, struck form against KXIP and tore into the bowling. He breezed to a half century in quick time and seemed to be taking the game away from the Kings at one point. He and Robin Uthappa added 72 runs for the second wicket before Uthappa tried one big shot too many and hauled out to mid-wicket against Ashwin.
Chris Lynn struck big, scoring 74 runs off 41 balls before being caught behind, chasing a delivery wide outside off. His innings had 6 fours and 4 sixes.
Ashwin bowled a tidy spell of 4-0-33-1 to bring the KKR innings under control in the middle overs after their initial burst. He was well supported by Andrew Tye and Brinder Sran in the closing overs, ensuring that the Kings restricted the Knight Riders to a score of under 200. They eventually finished at 191 at the loss of 7 wickets.
With the KKR pair of Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn going all guns blazing, captain Ashwin took matters into his own hands and dismissed Uthappa to get the game back under the Kings’ control.
The Kings XI Punjab openers returned the favour in the powerplay, plundering 73 runs. Barring a disciplined Narine, none of the bowlers were spared by the pair of Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle. They put Kings XI firmly in the driver’s seat before rain interrupted play in the 9th over with the hosts scoring 96 without the loss of a wicket.
It is a no mean feat, going toe to toe with one of the greatest hitters the game of cricket has ever seen. Lokesh Rahul managed this feat and almost guided the team home with a blitzkrieg 27-ball 60.
Resuming after the break, KXIP required 29 runs from 28 balls which was mere child’s play considering the red hot form both players were in. Rahul blazed 16 runs in three balls off Sunil Narine before getting caught at deep mid-wicket, leaving it up to his partner to finish the job. Gayle responded by finishing the game the only way he knows how, with a towering six. That six made him the player with the most sixes in the IPL so far.
Kings managed to with by 9-wickets in just 11.1 overs, stamping their authority over the league.
Key Chalda Hai?
Kings XI Punjab now sit pretty at the top of the league table with 8 points from 5 games. They will now take on Delhi Daredevils on their home turf at Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday, 23rd April.