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Match Report: M49 - KXIP vs KKR

KXIP stay afloat after spinners strangle KKR in run-chase

Match Report KXIP vs KKR.jpg

Kings XI Punjab stay relevant in the playoff equation of VIVO IPL 2017 after they defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Tuesday. After posting 167-6 batting first, KXIP bowled smartly and held on to their catches to restrict the visitors to 153-6 to win by 14 runs.

KKR got off to a blazing start once again, with Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn adding 39 runs in 3.4 overs when the former was castled by Mohit Sharma. Despite the loss of his opening partner, Lynn continued to be aggressive and played his natural game; he collected two boundaries off the first two balls of the fifth over and then a four and a six in the sixth over. The opener had raced to 41 from 19 balls and KKR were 61-1 at the end of the powerplay period.

But that’s when the match turned on its head as the spin twins – Rahul Tewatia and Axar Patel – tied the KKR batsmen and helped mount pressure; bowling in tandem, the left-arm spinner and the leg-spinner did not concede a boundary in six consecutive overs, and even picked up the big wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa. The two spinners only conceded 25 runs between overs seven and twelve. The effect: the required run rate, which was 7.64 after six overs, had shot to 10.25 before the start of the thirteenth over.
Lynn brought up his half-century in the tenth over, but he too lost his timing in the latter part of his knock. From 50 off 28 balls, the opener could only add 34 from the next 24 balls he faced, before he was run out in the eighteenth over attempting a risky second run.
In the backend of the run-chase, with the required run rate climbing rapidly and the batsmen desperate to find boundaries, Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma came together, bowled smartly and denied the batsmen any pace. Mohit conceded only seven runs in the seventeenth and nine runs in the crucial nineteenth, while Sandeep conceded only six runs in the sixteenth and five runs in a brilliant twentieth over. KKR were restricted to 153-6 – 15 short of what they needed to get.

Tewatia was the pick of the bowlers, returning figures of 2/18, while Mohit’s 2/24 earned him the Man of the Match award. A word of appreciation for Axar Patel’s contribution in the field; he pouched a magnificent catch to dismiss Uthappa and then fired in an inch-perfect rocket throw from the boundary that resulted in the run out of Lynn.

In the evening, several KXIP batsmen got off to starts, but none went on to make a big score. Glenn Maxwell’s 44 was the top score of the innings, while Wriddhiman Saha’s 38 was the next best score. The new opening pair of Martin Guptill and Manan Vohra (25 from 16 balls, 4 fours) saw the team off to a brisk start adding 39 in 4.4 overs when the latter was trapped leg before wicket in Narine’s first over. Guptill perished one over later, and Shaun Marsh was clean bowled through the gate by a Chris Woakes inswinger. KXIP 56-3 in 8.3 overs.

Saha and Maxwell then stitched together a 71-run partnership over the next seven overs. Saha wasn’t fluent, struggled to find the gaps and crawled to 10 from 17 balls, before he accelerated in the second half of his innings. Maxwell picked up two sixes off Colin de Grandhomme in the twelfth over and pulled Ankit Rajpoot to the midwicket boundary in the thirteenth.

In the sixteenth over, Maxwell hit the wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav for consecutive sixes, but was then outfoxed by the bowler. After the first two deliveries were deposited into the stands at midwicket, Kuldeep tossed the ball up yet again, only this time throwing it wider; Maxwell went through with the aggressive stroke yet again, but didn’t get enough muscle under it and Woakes took a good running catch at wide long-off. Maxwell was dismissed for 44; the KXIP hit 4 sixes and a boundary in his 25-ball vigil at the crease.
Saha (38 from 33 balls) too was outsmarted by Kuldeep in the eighteenth over; the KXIP wicketkeeper walked out signaling his intent early, only for the bowler to throw it wide and Robin Uthappa completed an easy stumping. KXIP, despite losing wickets at the back end, finished with a flourish thanks to Rahul Tewatia’s cameo of 15 from 8 balls.

Woakes was the pick of the KKR bowlers; the English pacer, brought on to bowl immediately after the powerplay had been completed, returned figures of 2-20. Kuldeep too picked up two wickets – though he conceded 34 runs in his three overs, while Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav picked up a wicket each.

Brief Scores:

Kings XI Punjab: 167-6 (Glenn Maxwell 44, Wriddhiman Saha 38, Chris Woakes 2-20, Kuldeep Yadav 2-34) beat Kolkata Knight Riders: 153-6 (Chris Lynn 84, Rahul Tewatia 2-18, Mohit Sharma 2-24) by 14 runs.

Man of the Match: Mohit Sharma