IPL 2016: Kolkata Knight Riders beat Kings XI Punjab by 7 runs, Stars and Flops

Kolkata Knight Riders fought hard to emerge victorious in the 32nd game of the Indian Premier League against Kings XI Punjab at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday. The match turned out to be a rollercoaster during the second innings as the momentum kept drifting from one end to another. Eventually, it was KKR who came out with flying colours and added tow priceless points to their tally, only to climb at the apex of the points table.  IPL 2016, Match 32, Pick of the tweets: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab at Kolkata

KXIP won the toss and opted to field first on a pitch which looked good for batting. Their openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa once again stuck to their guns and got their team off to a flying start. The duo accounted for 101 runs at the top inside 14 overs and laid the foundation for a big score but some brilliant death bowling from KXIP bowlers restricted the star studded KKR side to a decent total of 164.

Gambhir played a crucial innings of 54 while Uthappa starred with the bat with 70 runs to his name. None of the KXIP bowler managed to scalp a single wicket as all the three wickets which fell were run-outs. Sandeep Sharma and Akshar Patel bowled beautifully and didn’t leak too many runs.

KXIP had a task in hand while chasing 165 against the formidable bowling attack of 165. They got off to a rocky start as wickets kept tumbling like nine pins with the new ball. Morne Morkel drew the first blood in the form of Marcus Stoinis and steered his side to a dominating position. Andre Russell further bowled with immense confidence and chip couple of more wickets as he sent back Manan Vohra and Murali Vijay back to the pavilion.

Glenn Maxwell found form with a brilliant 68 from 42 deliveries and threatened to take the game away from KKR but Piyush Chawla ensured he didn’t as the wily leggie got the better of him with his guile. The match was evenly poised at a stage where KXIP needed 48 from 30 deliveries but the wicket of Maxwell turned things around for his side. Akshar Patel’s hard hitting revoke some hopes as KXIP required just 22 from final two overs. But Morkel and Russell ensured they carried their team over the line and ensured a sound victory. Russell had 12 runs to defend in the final over which he did it successfully.

Turning Point:  The wicket of Maxwell was indubitably the turning point of the game as he looked in great touch. Maxwell was batting on 68 when KXIP needed 45 from 27 deliveries which was pretty much gettable by his form and standards but his downfall changed the course of the game in KKR’s favour.

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Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 164 for 3 in 20 overs [Robin Uthappa 70(49), Gautam Gambhir 54(45); Sandeep Sharma 4-0-25-0, Akshar Patel 4-0-27-0] beat Kings XI Punjab 127 for 9 in 20 overs [Glenn Maxwell 68(42), Wriddhiman Saha 24(20); Andre Russell 4-0-20-4, Piyush Chawla 4-0-27-2] by 7 runs.

(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)