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Harsh Kalan in Mumbai 11 May 2014 - 07:31pm IST

Report: Match 34 – KXIP vs KKR

Clinical Knight Riders topple table-toppers

Desperately seeking a win in Cuttack, the Kolkata Knight Riders did the unthinkable – they beat the in-form Kings XI Punjab by a whopping nine-wicket margin with 12 balls to spare. Led by Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine, the KKR bowlers restricted the dangerous KXIP line-up to 149 for eight. And later, skipper Gautam Gambhir steered the run-chase with an unbeaten half-century and took his team across the line.

Earlier, Gambhir won the toss and asked KXIP to take first strike. Virender Sehwag and Mandeep Singh came out to open the innings in Cuttack, and the veteran opener helped plunder 17 runs off the first over – bowled by Jacques Kallis. However, Mandeep (0) got out in the second over itself, edging Morne Morkel to the ‘keeper. Wriddhiman Saha (15) then walked in the middle. But he became Morkel’s second victim when he was cleaned up in the sixth over.

At 48 for two, Glenn Maxwell took strike opposite Sehwag. And while the duo was pegged back for a few overs by Sunil Narine and co, Sehwag soon brought up his half-century. And by the halfway stage, the scorecard read 85 for two. But Piyush Chawla then claimed the big wicket of Maxwell (14) in the 11th over. The KKR leggie even bowled Sehwag (72) out; the Nawab of Najafgarh played a 50-ball impact innings that included eleven fours and a maximum.

David Miller (13) was the next man to depart; Umesh Yadav cleaned him up in the 16th over to leave KXIP on 120 for five. In the next over, Chawla returned to bowl Rishi Dhawan (4) out. George Bailey (12*) and Mitchell Johnson (14) then added 21 runs, before the latter was stumped off Narine with just one ball to go in the innings. KKR then effected Akshar Patel’s run-out off the final delivery of the 20th over, and restricted KXIP to 149 for eight. Chawla (4-0-19-3) was the pick of the KKR bowlers, while Narine (4-0-20-2) also had a good day at the office.

In response, Robin Uthappa and Gambhir kick started the KKR run-chase in great fashion. The duo maintained a run-rate of close to nine-an-over, and brought up the KKR 50 in the sixth over itself; they managed 55 runs in the powerplay. Uthappa (46) was the more aggressive of the two batters and he struck eight fours and a six during his 28-ball knock. He was, however, dismissed by Parvinder Awana in the seventh over.

Manish Pandey came out to bat with his captain, with the scorecard reading 68 for one. Even this pair continued undaunted while maintaining a very healthy run-rate. They brought up the team 100 in the 12th over, bringing the required run-rate down to around six-an-over. Soon, Gambhir (63*) also reached his half-century – his third this season. Thanks to his unbroken 82-run stand with Pandey (36*), the Knight Riders registered a massive nine-wicket with a full two overs to spare.

Man of the Match: Gautam Gambhir for leading a successful run-chase

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