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Harsh Kalan in Mumbai 26 April 2014 - 11:43pm IST

Report: Match 15 – KKR v KXIP

Kings XI bowlers successfully defend 132

After their batsmen, especially Glenn Maxwell, stole headlines in their first three games of the season, the KXIP bowlers came to the party during their game against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Defending a modest 132 runs, the KXIP bowlers, led by Sandeep Sharma, dismissed KKR for 109 to register a 23-run win. Thanks to this win, KXIP remain unbeaten in Pepsi IPL 2014 after four matches.

Earlier, KKR won the toss and asked KXIP to bat first. The Mohali franchise lost Cheteshwar Pujara (8) in the second over; the KXIP opener was run-out. Wriddhiman Saha then walked in to join Virender Sehwag at the end. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who was trapped leg-before by Jacques Kallis, had the lion’s share in their brief partnership. And at the fall of his wicket, KXIP’s destructor-in-chief, Glenn Maxwell, took strike opposite Sehwag. As expected, the two hard-hitters took the attack to the KKR bowlers.

The third-wicket pair had added 30 runs in quick time, when onlookers were greeted by an uncommon sight – Maxwell (15) getting out cheaply.

The current Orange Cap holder suffered a rare failure as Morne Morkel cleaned him up in the eighth over. However, Maxwell was not the only one who had an atypical day at the office; even David Miller (14) perished early while going for a big one off Piyush Chawla. And while skipper George Bailey (11) looked like he was building a meaningful partnership with Sehwag, he became Chawla’s next victim with the score reading 101 for five.

Even Sehwag (37) was dismissed in a short while. Despite getting a start, he could not convert his stay in the middle into a big innings as Chawla knocked his stumps over. The other KKR spinner, Sunil Narine, then got in on the action as he had Akshar Patel (7) stumped in the 19th over with KXIP on 126 for seven. The crafty off-spinner then bowled Mitchell Johnson (0) out off his next delivery. While Gautam Gambhir deployed two slips for the hat-trick ball to add some pressure, Lakshmipathy Balaji (0) successfully fended it away. However, Narine trapped him leg-before off the next ball to reduce KXIP to 126 for nine. Rishi Dhawan (19) and Sandeep Sharma (2) then played out the final over and took the KXIP score to 132 for nine.

For KKR, both spinners – Mishra and Narine – bagged three wickets apiece and were the chief architects of KXIP’s collapse.

In response, KKR opened with a new combination – Manish Pandey and Jacques Kallis. However, this change did not work out for them as Pandey (8) was trapped leg-before in the third over by Sandeep Sharma. Gautam Gambhir (1), coming in at No.3, finally bucked the trend of getting out on zero by scoring a run in Pepsi IPL 2014. But that was all the KKR skipper could do by the time Sharma got rid of him in the fifth over. Kallis (9) was the next man to depart; the veteran opener was caught by Maxwell off the bowling of Balaji.

At that point, KKR were on 19 for three and in a heap of trouble. Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa then paired up to take the run-chase forward. But just when it seemed as though Lynn (13) had got a handle on the KXIP bowlers, Akshar Patel bowled him out. With KKR needing 83 off 53 balls, Yusuf Pathan (3) walked in to bat. But the hard-hitter could not work his magic in this match and was trapped leg-before by Rishi Dhawan in the 13th over. Uthappa (19) followed him to the dugout just three runs later, when he was found short of his ground following a direct hit by Bailey.

And shortly after that, Patel had Chawla (0) stumped, thereby all but derailing KKR’s run-chase. And when Narine (5) walked in to bat, his team was tottering on 65 for seven in 13.4 overs. He too departed off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson without making much of an impact on the run-chase. Despite Suryakumar Yadav’s (34) 17-ball late-innings cameo, which was ended by Sandeep Sharma in the 18th over, the seemingly meagre target was unattainable. Johnson then cleaned up Umesh Yadav (2) to draw KKR’s innings to a close for 109 in 18.2 overs.

For KXIP, Sharma took three wickets for 21 in his four overs. He was complemented by Johnson and Patel, who took two wickets apiece. Even Balaji and Dhawan chipped in with a wicket each.

Man of the Match: Sandeep Sharma for his game-changing spell of 4-1-21-3

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