The Kolkata Knight Riders posted 245-6 – their highest-ever total in the IPL – and then defended it by restricting their opponents Kings XI Punjab to 214-8. Courtesy the 31-run win at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, KKR climbed back into the top half of the VIVO IPL 2018 standings;
Put in to bat, the Knight Riders rode on blitzes by Sunil Narine and Dinesh Karthik, and contributions from Chris Lynn and Andre Russell to get to 245 – the highest total this season. The opening pair of Narine and Lynn added 53 in 5.2 overs. After Lynn’s dismissal, Narine batted until the twelfth over to make his highest score in the IPL – 75, Russell blasted his way to 31 from 14 balls, while the KKR skipper Karthik scored his fastest IPL half-century – getting to 50 off 22 balls.
KKR had three important partnerships in their innings; the openers added 53, Narine then dominated the 75-run second wicket partnership with Robin Uthappa, and later on Russell and Karthik added 76 runs for the fourth wicket. KKR scored 110 runs in the middle portion of the innings – the highest any team has scored in the middle nine overs this season, and finished with a flourish, adding 76 runs in the final five overs.
Kings XI Punjab threatened to make a match out of it when their openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle saw their team off a brisk start. But once Gayle was dismissed in the sixth over and the partnership was nipped at 57, the wheels came off the innings; KXIP lost 3 wickets for 22 runs. And a little while later when Sunil Narine dismissed the in-form Rahul (bowled between his legs), there was going to be only one winner – KKR.
Rahul was impressive with the bat yet again, scoring his third consecutive half-century this season; his 29-ball innings – which yielded him 66 runs – contained decisive footwork, some stunning strokes, and he invariably took full toll of the bad deliveries. Rahul, who reached his half-century off 22 balls, was bowled in the ninth over when he attempted to slog sweep Narine, but the ball took the inside edge of his bat and found a gap between his legs and disturbed the stumps.
Aaron Finch and Ravichandran Ashwin made 34 and 45 in the middle order, but despite their contribution, KXIP could only get as far as 214-8.
Standout batting performance
The ploy to get Sunil Narine to open the batting works well for Kolkata Knight Riders because if he stays at the crease for a decent length of time, he almost always puts his team in a position of strength. Saturday was one such occasion. The Trinidadian batted until the twelfth over and decimated the KXIP bowlers; his 36-ball knock contained nine fours and four sixes.
The method to Narine’s success was to stand still, get under the ball and swing hard. The wide long-on and midwicket area was his main scoring area; all the four sixes he hit were in that region. The left-hander, who got to his half-century off 26 balls, had plenty of success against BarinderSran (24 off 9 balls) and Ravichandran Ashwin (21 off 7 balls).
Dinesh Karthik walked in to bat in the twelfth over after his team had lost two wickets in three balls. While most batsmen and captains would have considered consolidation as an option at that stage, Karthik chose attacking cricket as the best way to consolidate and keep the pressure on the opposition. The KKR captain played a range of shots; he cut the ball, glided it through the slip-cordon, attempted the pull on a couple of occasions, and used the sweep and slog-sweep to good effect against the spinners. Karthik got to his half-century off 22 balls – his fastest fifty in the IPL – and was dismissed the very next ball when he picked out long-on.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Chris Lynn scored 27 from 17 balls and Robin Uthappa made 24 from 17 balls. But the most impactful support act in the KKR innings came from Andre Russell. The Jamaican justified his promotion to number four by smashing two fours and three sixes in his 14-ball 31. Russell was particularly severe on the KXIP spinners, scoring 21 runs off the seven deliveries he faced off Axar Patel and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Standout bowling performance
Russell came in for stick when he came on to bowl. However, it was the damage he did in his second over that pretty much landed the knockout punch on KXIP. After being hit for a six first ball, the Jamaican came back strongly; he bowled a pacyyorker, followed it up with a full toss, and then surprised Gayle with a quick short delivery, which the left-hander top-edged to the wicket-keeper. The very next ball, Russell dished out the perfect bouncer, which Mayank Agarwal hooked straight to the man positioned on the square-leg boundary. In his following over, Russell dismissed Karun Nair – caught at long-on.
KXIP’s Andrew Tye was hit for a six the first ball he bowled in the match, but the Australian came back strongly to finish with figures of 4-41. Tyeused change of pace and varying lengths to dismiss the top four batsmen in the KKR batting line-up.
Stat of the Match
The Kolkata Knight Riders’ 31-run win would be the first time a team batting first had won an IPL match at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.
Kolkata Knight Riders 245-6 (Sunil Narine 75, Dinesh Karthik 50, Andre Russell 31, Andrew Tye 4-41) beat
Kings XI Punjab 214-8 (KL Rahul 66, Aaron Finch 34, Ravichandran Ashwin 45, Andre Russell 3-41) by 31 runs.
Man of the Match:
Sunil Narine, for his 36-ball 75.