Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) led by Dinesh Karthik registered a much-needed victory against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) as they defeated them by 31 runs – to keep their hopes alive in Vivo Indian Premier League’s (IPL) eleventh edition.
Interestingly, the defeat also puts Punjab in a precarious situation where they need to win at least two of their last three games to qualify for the playoffs. The victory was set up by a brilliant batting performance by the Knight Riders.
Riding on a sensational knock from the blade of Sunil Narine and useful contributions from Andre Russell and skipper Dinesh Karthik which propelled Kolkata – to a huge score of 245 for eight in their allotted 20 overs.
The opening duo of Narine and Chris Lynn shared a 53 runs partnership for the opening wicket. Narine smashed 75 of just 36 deliveries and eventually proved were instrumental in helping Kolkata post a gigantic total.
After the fall of Chris Lynn’s wicket, it was a Narine onslaught which made the Punjab bowlers look utterly clueless.
Russell smashed a quickfire 31 of 14 deliveries which included a couple of fours and three sixes. His innings never allowed Kolkata fall behind the run rate.
The final impetus was provided by skipper Karthik, who scored yet another half-century. He smashed four fours and three sixes.
In the end, Kolkata scored the highest score in the tournament. Andrew Tye was the pick of the Punjab bowlers bagging four wickets for just 41 runs.
Punjab got off to a brilliant start which was the order of the day. KL Rahul continued his ominous touch and smashed yet another half-century.
The opening duo of Gayle and Rahul stitched together a 57 runs partnership before the dismissal of Chris Gayle. The wickets of Gayle also brought about the downfall of two more wickets.
The target was always going to be very difficult for Punjab. However, some power-hitting by skipper Ravichandran Ashwin towards the end kept them in the match for a long time.
However, they eventually fell short by 31 runs. Russell was the pick of the Kolkata bowlers bagging three wickets for 41 runs. Punjab eventually finished on 214 in 20 overs.
This is what the winning skipper Dinesh Karthik said at the post-match presentation.
“We batted really well. This is a small ground, mishits go for sixes and it is hard on the bowlers, especially the spinners. Our seamers are coming up, Prasidh is coming up really well, Searles has a lot of variety and Russell is really special,” Karthik said during the presentation.
For the last five games he’s been doing the job for us, keeps asking me for the ball and I have to calm him down (smiles). What I like the most about Narine is that he thinks of himself as a batsman now and no longer only as a pinch hitter. One more game against Rajasthan and putting up a good performance against them would be great,” Karthik added.