Punjab

Manpreet Gony (L) impressed with his all-round skills in tie against KKR © IANS

By Devarchit Varma

Mohali: Apr 16, 2013

Kings XI Punjab produced an inspired bowling performance to trump defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders by four runs in the 20th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Tuesday.

Chasing a daunting target of 158 to win, Kolkata Knight Riders scored 153 for nine from their allotted 20 overs.

With this win, Kings XI Punjab moved to the fifth spot in IPL 2013 points table.

Kolkata Knight Riders made a poor start in their chase of 158, losing two wickets at the score of one to give Punjab the advantage. Praveen Kumar struck on the first ball of the innings to dismiss Manvinder Bisla, and Azhar Mahmood got rid of the dangerous Jacques Kallis in the second over to leave the tourists in trouble.

Manvinder edged the first ball which ricocheted off Mahmood’s hands, but wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist dived to his right to claim the first wicket.

In the second over, Mandeep Singh took a sharp catch at the extra cover position to dismiss Kallis for one, which left the defending champions reeling at 1/2.

Kings XI Punjab did well to exert pressure on Kolkata, but skipper Gautam Gambhir didn’t seem in any trouble as he kept hitting boundaries at regular intervals.

Gambhir cracked consecutive boundaries off Praveen’s second over of the innings, and the left-handed Morgan got into the groove shaking off a slow start.

Gambhir carried his good form as with ease he shifted the momentum towards Kolkata along with Morgan. He cracked three consecutive fours off David Hussey’s first over of the match – sixth of the innings, to keep his side on track.

The Kolkata skipper brought up his record 19th half-century of the IPL with a flick towards square leg, which came from 31 balls and eight boundaries.

Kolkata crossed the 100-run mark in the 13th over of the innings.

Gambhir’s innings came to an end on the first ball of 14th over, caught behind the wickets by Gilchrist off Gony. He scored 60 from 39 balls, which included nine hits to the fence.

Gambhir and Morgan added 105 runs for the third wicket to lead Kolkata’s revival.

Morgan carried on after Gambhir’s dismissal, but missed out on a half-century when he got a leading edge off Mahmood to give a simple catch to David Hussey at extra cover in the 15th over.

The left-handed batsman struck six boundaries to score 47 off 38 balls.

The Knight Riders slipped after the fall of Gambhir and Morgan, and the dismissal of Manoj Tiwary in the 17th over only added to their woes.

Earlier in the first innings, Sunil Narine claimed the first hat-trick of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 but Kings XI Punjab fought their way back to post a daunting total of 157 for nine.

It was laregly due to an attacking innings of tail-ender batsman Manpreet Gony — who slammed three sixes and four boundaries to reach 42 off just 18 balls. Punjab went past the 150-run mark after being reduced to 99 for six as Narine claimed three wickets in as many balls.

After being asked to bat first, Kings XI Punjab started off on a cautious note. They reached seven for no loss after two overs, and it was in the third over of Lakshmipathy Balaji that a few runs came.

Adam Gilchrist slapped the ball for a boundary towards mid-on, and Mandeep Singh followed it with two consecutive hits to the fence to mark a good beginning for the hosts.

However, Kings XI Punjab captain Gilchrist’s poor run in the tournament continued as he was back in the hut once again with a score in single digits to his name. The left-handed opener was trapped in front by Kolkata spinner Sachithra Senanayake for seven in the fourth over of the innings.

After the early dismissal of Gilchrist, Punjab’s young batsmen Manan Vohra and Mandeep joined forces to take their side ahead. In their previous clash against Rajasthan, Kings XI suffered because of lack of partnerships at the top of the order, but it wasn’t the case on Tuesday.

Manan and Mandeep batted cautiously to bail their side out of trouble, and added 37 runs for the second wicket in 29 balls to lead Punjab’s recovery.

The pair kept picking boundaries every over and rotated the strike with ease, and it looked like they could set a platform for a huge first innings total with their solid stand.

However, Balaji had other plans. He bowled a short delivery to Manan, who danced down the track to whip it towards the midwicket area, but the ball took a top edge and Balaji took a simple catch to send the Punjab batsman packing.

Mandeep was joined by the experienced and in-form David Hussey, and Punjab would have expected a big partnership with the two right-handers. But their hopes crashed on the first ball of the 10th over, when Mandeep came down the track only to nick the ball while attempting a big heave, and it was a simple catch to wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla.

Kolkata Knight Riders clawed their way back with the wickets of Manan and Mandeep in quick succession, and didn’t allow the new batsmen David Hussey and David Miller to get away easily.

David Hussey and Miller took a couple of overs to settle in. Miller struck his first boundary in the 14th over of the innings towards the midwicket with a powerful hit.

Then came Sunil Narine for his second over of the game and there was a surprise package. The star spinner claimed a hat-trick to leave Punjab reeling.

Narine first claimed the big wicket of David Hussey, who scored 12 during his stay at the crease. The veteran batsman came forward to cut, but the ball bounced more than expected and took a thick edge and Bisla took an easy catch on the fourth ball of the over.

Azhar Mahmood tried to caress the fifth ball towards midwicket, but the ball took a leading edge and Narine did the rest. Punjab were reeling at 99 for five.

Kolkata skipper Gambhir brought fielders in close to the new man Gurkeerat Singh — a field which is usually seen in Test cricket. But all that wasn’t needed as Narine cleaned up the Punjab batsman on the last ball of the over to register his hat-trick.

Punjab thus slipped from 99 for three to 99 for six in the 15th over.

The hosts had bolstered their batting firepower with the inclusion of South African David Miller in place of pacer Ryan Harris, but the left-handed batsman didn’t enjoy success with the bat as he was bowled by Senanayake in the next over for 20.

Towards the end, Gony played a rapid 18-ball 42 which powered the hosts to a competitive first innings total. The Punjab batsmen clobbered as many as 23 runs off Narine’s last over of the game.

All-rounder Jacques Kallis returned with the figures of 4-0-24-3 while Narine claimed 3 for 33 off his four overs.

Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 157 for 9 in 20 overs (Manpreet Gony 42, Mandeep Singh 41; Jacques Kallis 3 for 24, Sunil Narine 3 for 33) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 153 for 9 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 60, Eoin Morgan 47; Azhar Mahmood 3 for 21, Praveen Kumar 2 for 26) by 4 runs.

Man of the Match: Manpreet Gony

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(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)