The iconic Eden Gardens is not known for a high-scoring T20 match. Yet when Kolkata Knight Riders went out to bat, Shah Rukh Khan’s team was determined to change that. Kings XI Punjab won the toss and sent KKR to bat. The Knight Riders made use of the batting track and churned out 218 runs with Nitish Rana (63), Robin Uthappa (67*) and Andre Russell (48) being the big hitters. Kings XI Punjab fell short of the target by 28 runs and ended with 190 in 20 overs.
Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine (24) set the tone of the match, starting the innings with a brutal attack. Unfortunately, both openers were dispatched soon, leaving Uthappa and Rana to deal with Kings XI’s bowling. The pair turned out to be resilient to captain Ravichandran Ashwin’s plans, belting out boundaries. Uthappa remained unbeaten at 67. He was efficient in rotating the strike and scoring as well. Rana on the other hand went on the offensive with 7 sixes.
After Rana departed off Varun Chakravarthy and made way for Andre Russell. The West Indian was in the form of his life and despite the initial struggle, where he was bowled with a no-ball, he picked up the pace. Russell rampaged with 5 sixes and 3 fours, moving scoring 48 off 17 balls. Really, the Punjab bowlers were spared of their misery when Andrew Tye removed him.
It was a bad day for Mohammed Shami and Ashwin who gave away 44 and 47 respectively. The duo picked up one wicket each. Varun Chakravarthy, Hardus Viljoen and Tye went for under 40 and each got a wicket. Mandeep Singh got just one over but was severely punished, giving away 18.
Kings XI Punjab started their batting with KL Rahul (1) and Chris Gayle (20) but the former departed within two overs. Gayle looked strong, silencing the crowd with 2 sixes and 2 fours before Russell got him caught Prasidh Krishna. Mayank Agarwal joined in and put up a splendid knock of 58 runs off 34 balls before Piyush Chawla bowled him. Dre Russ removed Sarfaraz Khan (13) swiftly enough and it was up to David Miller (59*) and Mandeep Singh (33*) to put up a fight in the middle order. Miller’s fifty was a highlight for Kings XI, considering he had just landed in India a day ago and seems to have adjusted well. The game ended with KXIP scoring 190 in 20 overs.
Krishna and Ferguson were expensive for KKR giving away 42 runs each, though Lockie scalped the wicket of Rahul. Russell picked up two for 21 and was declared man of the match for his all-round performance.
So currently KKR stands on top of the table with four points, followed by Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab. From number five onwards is Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians with no victories.