IPL desk in Mumbai 18 April 2012 - 11:41pm IST
Report: Match 22 – KXIP vs KKR
All-round KKR register eight-wicket win over hosts KXIP
After successfully defending 134 at the Eden Gardens in their previous game, KXIP won the toss and chose to set the Knight Riders a target at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. However, Brett Lee struck early in the innings to remove Paul Valthaty, who is yet to recreate the magical form he was in last year. Then, Shaun Marsh, who had led the hosts to victory in their last game here, joined Adam Gilchrist, who was batting with purpose. But the KXIP skipper pulled his hamstring while trying to sneak in a single and had to return to the pavilion. This brought out Mandeep Singh, who has been the leading run-getter for KXIP in IPL 2012 so far.
All through, the purple attired bowlers kept the run-flow in check and ensured that the hosts didn’t cut loose. Conceding only 13 runs in his three-over first spell, Lakshmipathy Balaji sent back the local lad, Mandeep for just six to give the visitors their second wicket. The lanky pacer was the most economical of the KKR bowlers as he conceded just 20 runs off his four overs.
With the departure of Mandeep, David Hussey joined Shaun Marsh at the crease. The left-handed Marsh was in sublime form until Brett Lee, after being brought back into the attack, claimed his wicket dealing a big blow to the home team. There was some drama surrounding this key wicket. There was doubt over whether the ball had carried to the keeper as the batsman heaved at the wide delivery. But Marsh walked after confirming with the wicketkeeper. He was soon followed to the dugout by Hussey, who was run out as Paras Dogra called for a tough single after hitting the ball towards covers. An over later, Dimitri Mascarenhas fell to a slower one from Rajat Bhatia. With five batsmen back in the hut, Gilchrist made his way to the crease.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals for the hosts. In the next over, Dogra slog-swept Sunil Narine and was caught at deep mid-wicket by Jacques Kallis. In the following over, Balaji would have added Piyush Chawla’s wicket to his tally had Bisla not let the ball slip from his hands before colliding with Yusuf Pathan. Narine then claimed the batsman off the last ball of the innings, while a disappointed Gilchrist remained unbeaten on 40 (3x4, 1x6) off 30 balls at the other end.
With good bowling and impressive fielding, KKR did well to restrict the hosts to 124. While Narine and Lee returned with two for 24 and two for 26 respectively, Balaji and Bhatia kept the batsmen on a leash by conceding less than six runs per over.
Defending a below par total, KXIP’s Praveen Kumar conceded 10 runs off the first over. But he bounced back to bowl a maiden. However, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum went after the bowlers and the one maiden did nothing to deter them. In the next over, Gambhir stepped out to hit Harmeet Singh for a six over mid-wicket. He even followed it with a boundary over extra cover, making his intent clear. The duo was cruising along when McCullum hit Chawla straight to Dimitri Mascarenhas at fine leg to give the spinner an unexpected wicket. A while later, the leg-spinner castled Manvindar Bisla for 11. But claiming a wicket at that stage had no bearing on the outcome of the match. Gambhir however continued to lead the run-chase with the veteran Kallis at the other end.
The two experienced campaigners came together with 51 required off 61 balls and eight wickets in hand, and they carried KKR to victory with 3.3 overs to spare.
Man-of-the-Match: Gautam Gambhir for his match-winning knock of 66* off 44 balls