KKR earn two valuable points in their kitty © AFP
KKR add two valuable points in their kitty © AFP

In the shortest format, bowlers concede 200-plus at regular intervals. However, how much do they leak after the 200-run-mark defines their side’s fortunes. Match 44 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 saw Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bowlers get hammered all over the park, and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) posted their highest IPL score. Chasing 246, KXIP had their moments courtesy KL Rahul (66), and starts from Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch. Nonetheless, the total was too much for a lineup; majorly revolving around their openers.

Rahul and Gayle commenced the chase in style. While Gayle took on West Indian mates, Andre Russell and debutant Javon Searles, Rahul was hitting the ball as clearly as ever. His timing has been spot on this season, and continued in similar fashion. Rahul attacked Prashid Krishna, and tore apart Sunil Narine. It was another innings comprising of proper cricketing shot and immaculate timing.

However, Rahul lost partners before eventually falling to Narine. Russell changed the complexion of the chase with twin strikes in the 6th over. He dared to bowl the short ball, after being hammered by Gayle, and got rid of both him and Mayank Agarwal (for a golden duck)in successive deliveries.

Rahul was aware of that he cannot hold back in a humongous chase, and continued to be aggressive. However, Narine decided to bowl round the stumps, and used his carrom-ball to dismiss Rahul. The opener went for a slog sweep, got an inside-edge onto the front thigh and the ball hit the timber. Rahul, the new Orange Cap holder, went back to the hut, and diminished KIXP’s chances going ahead.

Akshar Patel and Aaron Finch got some freebies of Kuldeep Yadav and Searles. The KKR duo, however, had the last laugh; dismissing Patel and Finch respectively. The total became too much for a rusty KXIP order. Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin and Andrew Tye did their best to push the score beyond 200, and maintain a healthy net run-rate. In the end, they were restricted for 214 for 8.

KKR, after a 102-run defeat, have secured a handy win in the business end of the tournament. They are now tied with KXIP at 12 points. On the other hand, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are breathing down their neck (10 points each).

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 245 for 6 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 27, Sunil Narine 75, Robin Uthappa 24, Andre Russell 31, Dinesh Karthik 50; Andrew Tye 4 for 41, Mohit Sharma 1 for 40) beat Kings XI Punjab 220 for 6 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 66, Chris Gayle 21, Aaron Finch 34, Ravichandran Ashwin 45; Andre Russell 3 for 41, Sunil Narine 1 for 44) by 31 runs