Kolkata end skid, return to winning ways with Punjab romp - GulfToday

Kolkata end skid, return to winning ways with Punjab romp

Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata Knight Riders’ batsmen take a run during their match against Punjab Kings. Courtesy: IPL

After losing four matches in a row, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) finally pulled off a convincing victory as they beat Punjab Kings (PBKS) by five wickets in their IPL clash on the back of some disciplined bowling from their spinners, which helped restrict the Punjab franchise to 123/9 in 20 overs at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Monday.

A 66-run fourth wicket stand between skipper Eoin Morgan (47 not out off 40 balls) and Rahul Tripathi (41 off 32 balls) provided the base for the Kolkata franchise to reach the target with 3.2 overs to spare.

Earlier, Sunil Narine took 2/22, while Varun Chakravarthy scalped 1/24 as KKR picked up wickets at frequent intervals to derail the PBKS innings.

Only opener Mayank Agarwal (31 off 34 balls) and tailender Chris Jordan (30 off 18) could be worthwhile contributors for PBKS.

Agarwal had shared a 36-run opening stand with skipper K.L. Rahul in 5.4 overs but three quick wickets -- that of Rahul (19), Chris Gayle (0) and Deepak Hooda (1) -- set the Punjab franchise back, reducing them to 42/3 in 7.4 overs.

Agarwal also departed soon as the spinners came into operation during the middle overs. When Nicholas Pooran (19) was dismissed with just 79 runs on board, PBKS were in danger of getting bowled out for under 100. However, Jordan hit some lusty blows to take the team to their eventual total.

In response, KKR started on a miserable note, getting reduced to 17/3 at the end of the third over, losing the wickets of Nitish Rana (0), Shubman Gill (9) and Sunil Narine (0).

Tripathi survived a run out scare before he hung on to help Morgan resurrect the innings. By the time Tripathi was dismissed, KKR were already on course for a victory, needing 41 to win off 54 balls. Morgan finally came good as he hit two sixes and four fours to help his side cross the finishing line.

KKR have now moved to the fifth position on the points table while, PBKS are placed sixth. Both temas have two wins from six matches, but better net run rate puts KKR ahead. Kolkata spinner Chakravarthy said that dew played on his mind forcing the ball to slip out of hands during the IPL match against Punjab. Even then, Chakravarthy picked one for 24 in four overs.

“In the last ten overs, dew really starting setting in and there’s a lot of dew. It was really tough to grip the ball, few balls were slipping and we had to dry the ball each and every ball,” said Chakravarthy after PBKS innings.

The right-arm spinner, known to bowl mystery spin and hasn’t been fathomed yet by the batsman got the wicket of Nicholas Pooran on Monday.

Chakravarthy and fellow KKR bowler Sunil Narine bowled the middle overs and kept things tight. They gave away 46 runs in eight overs and picked three wickets.

The Tamil Nadu bowler said that he is working on another mystery ball that will soon come up.

“I am working on it, let’s see, if conditions help me, I’ll use it. I need a dry ball for that,” he added.

West Indies opener Gayle showed a degree of athleticism at the age of 41 even as his team, (PBKS), struggled to keep itself alive in the IPL match against KKR. Gayle’s diving efforts even brought smile on the face of his West Indies teammate in the KKR camp, Andre Russell. With KKR struggling at 17/3 after three overs, Gayle almost made it 17/4 in the fourth over as he dived to pick the ball and hit the stumps with a direct throw. It seemed that batsman Rahul Tripathi was caught short but replays showed he was in.

Tripathi went on to make 41 and shared a 66-run fourth-wicket partnership with captain Eoin Morgan.

Then, during the eighth over, Gayle dived again to stop the ball. That stop brought smile on the face for Russell, himself known for his fielding.

Gayle has struggled with back injury in recent past which has affected ability to bowl off-spin. His bowling used to be effective in the past.

On Monday, Gayle was out for a duck. The Jamaican has been inconsistent in this year’s Indian Premier League. Other than two scores in the 40s, he has failed to get good scores.

The fielding effort was probably meant to ensure that he doesn’t end up being a one-dimensional player for his team. T20 cricket demands good fielding skills, especially if you are a pure batsman.


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