Kolkata Knight Riders bowled brilliantly to keep an attacking line-up quiet © IANS (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 26, 2014
Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine took three wickets apiece as Kolkata Knight Riders restricted the in-form Kings XI Punjab to 132 for nine in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. The two tweakers combined well to keep Punjab in check after they had a decent start. Punjab promised during their start with Virender Sehwag looking in decent touch. However, his 37 was the only notable contribution as the other batsmen failed to build on their starts. Chasing under lights is not easy in Abu Dhabi, but this shouldn’t be too difficult for Kolkata unless Punjab bowl brilliantly.
Gautam Gambhir had won the toss and chose to bowl first. They made one change to the side with Chawla replacing R Vinay Kumar. There was a lot of action in the powerplay with both sides taking the honours. Cheteshwar Pujara started off with a few crisp shots, but was then run-out in the second over. Morne Morkel bowled a fiery spell upfront and there was some good cricket on show with the Punjab batsmen ready to attack him. In his second over, he surprised Pujara with a short one that climbed on him and it took his glove as it went to the wicketkeeper. However, Pujara survived then as Morkel had overstepped.
Wriddhiman Saha came on and he was welcomed with some chin music. Saha did well to sway out of the way. But in the next over bowled by Morkel, Saha had made his mind to lift him on the leg-side. Off the first ball, he got a top-edge that flew over the keeper’s head. Umesh Yadav got there from third-man but failed to hold on. Saha then tried similar shots and carted Morkel over the off-side for a four and a six.
Glenn Maxwell was welcomed to the crease amidst some cheers, when Saha was dismissed leg-before in by Jacques Kallis. He had an uncertain start but then announced his arrival by carting one through the covers. Sunil Narine came on and Sehwag stuck into him with a huge six over mid-wicket and then Maxwell unleashed the reverse-sweep for four. At 51 for two in the powerplay, things looked good for Punjab.
Gambhir then summoned Morkel again to get rid of Maxwell and he responded to his captain’s calls. Maxwell walked past the stumps and Morkel got through with yorker that shattered the stumps. The celebrations in the Kolkata camp only reflected the value of this wicket. This was Maxwell’s first failure this season. That was when Punjab started losing the plot although they maintained a good scoring rate.
Chawla unleashed some magic in this innings with some good variations. Bowling against his old side, Chawla bowled a mixture of wrong-uns, the straighter ones, and of course the conventional leg-spinners. In the middle overs, he broke the back of the Punjab batting with a spell of three for 19 in his four overs. David Miller was out trying to heave towards mid-wicket, George Bailey tried to clear the the boundaries behind the bowler, but was caught and Sehwag was bowled for 37 with a beautiful wrong-up.
It was a fantastic spell as Chawla bowled 10 dot balls to break Punjab’s momentum, who looked to attack at every stage. Some may have expected such a spell by Narine as Chawla is labeled as an expensive bowler. However, given the opportunity, he highlighted his ability. Akshar Patel and Rishi Dhawan tried to fight, but Narine came on to bowl the penultimate over and snared three wickets to end any hopes of Punjab getting to 150.
Kings XI Punjab 132 for 9 in 20 overs (Virender Sehwag 37; Piyush Chawla 3 for 19, Sunil Narine 3 for 24) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)