Kings XI Punjab bulldozed their way to the top of VIVO IPL 2018 standings after they defeated the hosts Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in Match 18. KXIP, in pursuit of 192, were given a blazing start by their openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. But rain interrupted proceedings, and when play resumed after more than an hour and a half, the visitors were given a revised target of 125 in 13 overs. Rahul and Gayle continued from where they had left off before the skies opened up; upon resumption, they added 20 runs in quick time before Rahul was dismissed for 60. Gayle completed the job in the company of Mayank Agarwal, striking Tom Curran for a six over long on to take his team over the line.KXIP won by 9 wickets, with 1.5 overs remaining to be bowled.
A target of 192 would test most teams, not KXIP, who made lightwork of the chase. Rahul hit the first two balls of the chase for boundaries – first through fine-leg and the next one a square-drive, and KXIP were on their way. In the following over Rahul meted out the same treatment to Andre Russell, whose first two balls were dispatched to the boundary, before Gayle joined in and drove one through point.The pair were unforgiving on almost all the KKR bowlers, and collected boundaries at regular intervals; the pair brought up the 50 of the innings in 3.4 overs, and extended their association to 116.
Earlier in the evening, Chris Lynn found form and made his season’s best; his 74 from 41 balls was the top-score in the KKR innings. The Australian was a tad slow off the blocks, but gained momentum as he spent more time at the crease; he remained busy at the crease, collecting several singles, generally crunched the ball through the off-side to collect boundaries, and collected all his four sixes on the leg-side. Lynn was dismissed in the sixteenth over when he chased a wide delivery from Andrew Tye, only managing a bottom edge to the wicket-keeper; the KKR opener hit six fours and four sixes in his innings. KKR also had contributions from Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik, who made 34 & 43 respectively, which helped KKR to 191-7. KKR were 50-1 in the powerplay, accelerated in the middle overs – adding 96-2 in 9 overs, but couldn’t quite force the pace in the final overs, adding only 45-4 in the final five.
Standout batting performances
Chris Gayle and KL Rahul are in belligerent mode on Saturday evening as they tore into the KKR bowlers. Rahul created the odd shot, but for most part, his shape and played the copybook strokes. There was an exhibition of square drives, cover drives and flicks off the pads. On two occasions, he even brought out the pull shot and deposited the ball into the stands. Rahul got to his half-century off 24 balls and carried on to make 60 before he top-edged Sunil Narine and was caught in the outfield.
At the other end, Gayle was being Gayle; he ran the occasion single, but scored the bulk of his runs through sixes. The Jamaican hit six sixes – five of them in the area around the sightscreen, and drove fluently through the off-side to collect boundaries. The left-hander scored his third consecutive 50-plus score – reaching the milestone off 28 balls.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Dinesh Karthik and Robin Uthappa looked good during their brief stay at the crease. Both batsmen used a mixture of power and deft touches to collect boundaries; Uthappa made 34 before he was caught on the midwicket boundary, while Karthik – who ran between the wickets for nearly half of his runs – made 43 from 28 balls before he too holed out to the fielder in the outfield.
Standout bowling performance
Andrew Tye was the standout bowler in the match. The Australian was handed the ball for the first time in the sixth over, and began his spell with a No Ball. He conceded 7 runs in his first over, and went for 15 in his second over – the 13th of the innings. But brought on to bowl two overs in the final quarter, he was outstanding; he dismissed Lynn with a fuller-slower-wider delivery which the batsman edged to the keeper. Bowling the final over, he conceded five runs – which included a wide, and picked up the wicket of Tom Curran. Tye finished with figures of 4-0-30-2.
Stat of the Match
The 116-run opening stand between KL Rahul and Chris Gayle would become the season’s highest opening partnership. It bettered the 102-run stand between Mumbai Indians’ Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis.
KXIP’s win in this match ended their five-match losing streak at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Kolkata Knight Riders 191-7 (Chris Lynn 74, Dinesh Karthik 43, Andrew Tye 2-30) lost to
Kings XI Punjab 126-1 in 11.1 overs (Chris Gayle 62*, KL Rahul 60) by 9 wickets (DLS Method).
Man of the Match:
KL Rahul, for his 27-ball 60.