Masters of the Chase: Knight Riders Make Light Work of Kings XI’s 170

Match report

The phrase “scoreboard pressure” is becoming defunct by the day and almost by every match in IPL 2017; no team wants to bat first, and understandably so, but the most conspicuous aspect is that no target seems to faze the side chasing. No prizes for guessing then who’s under the most pressure. This growing trend also prompts us to think why Shane Watson, the stand-in captain for Royal Challengers, won the toss and chose to field first in Indore in match 8, against a powerful Kings XI Punjab batting line-up.

Kings XI had chased down a couple of modest totals (164 and 149), at home too, before the clash against Knight Riders. But Kings XI batsmen were up against two bowling attacks which lacked ammunition. And, needless to say, both these elements favoured Glenn Maxwell’s men.

On Thursday night (April 13), Kings XI were in an uncharted territory of batting first and having to post a total which could be defended on an Eden Gardens pitch that’s great for strokeplay these days. KKR had won one and lost one match before they took on Punjab and like Kings XI, they had been clinical chasers once, against Gujarat Lions. When asked to defend a total by Mumbai Indians, who themselves have won both their matches by hunting down targets, Kolkata foundered.

Openers Manan Vohra and Hashim Amla provided a blazing start and put up a 50-run partnership once again, laying a solid foundation for the stroke-makers and big-hitters in the middle order. However, a good start, from an individual or team’s perspective, wasn’t enough for the visitors here and that’s all every one of the Kings XI batsmen managed on a night when a team total in the region of 200 was needed.

A blend of Kings XI batsmen not converting their starts into big scores and wickets falling at critical junctures meant that the innings on the whole never really took off. Every time a cluster of boundaries was hit or a batsman seemed to get into his groove, like Maxwell was, like Miller was or even Wriddhiman Saha, a wicket fell and this tendency impeded the visitors at the Eden Gardens from reaching 200 or more.

Umesh Yadav, making his first appearance of this IPL season, struck for KKR at the critical junctures and took the two most crucial wickets, of Maxwell and Miller, in the KXIP line-up. The Vidarbha pacer finished with 4/33 and his spell along with those by Sunil Narine and Chris Woakes, helped Kolkata restrict Punjab to 170/9.

With the injured Chris Lynn out of action for some time, the popular expectation was the reunion of Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order for KKR. But all of us were taken aback on seeing Sunil Narine walk out with his skipper Gautam Gambhir.

Equally as surprising was Narine’s approach as an opener and the ease with which he garnered his runs. He didn’t flounder and barely did he seem out of place despite opening the batting in T20 cricket for just the second time: Big Bash League side Melbourne Renegades were the first to experiment with Narine as an opening batsman, albeit the tricky Trinidadian spinner scored just 37 runs in three innings for the Renegades. His ability with the bat was also on display in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) earlier this year, with Narine smacking 11 sixes in eight outings with the bat.

On his first outing as an opener for KKR, Narine took apart the Kings XI new-ball bowlers—Sandeep Sharma, Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron—garnering a whopping 91.89 per cent (34) of his runs (37) in boundaries (4×4 and 3×6). He struck the ball cleanly and wasn’t at all edgy.

At the other end, Gambhir was his usual self, timing the ball well and being particularly attractive in playing shots square on the off-side. On numerous occasions he was given room to free his arms and Gambhir was clinical in dispatching the ball to the fence each time.

With very little swing on offer, Ishant and co. didn’t threaten the KKR batsmen, who garnered the runs required (171) in a hurry. At times during their chase, Knight Riders scored at almost 13 runs per over. As many as 20 fours and five sixes were hit and the two-time champions once again chased down a competitive total with utter ease. Gambhir anchored the innings and was unbeaten on 72 (49). Robin Uthappa (26) and Manish Pandey (25*) played little cameos and Kolkata overhauled Kings XI Punjab’s total in just 16.3 overs.

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab, 11th Match Scorecard

Gautam Gambhir won the toss and chose to field first.

Playing XIs

1. Gautam Gambhir (c), 2. Robin Uthappa, 3. Manish Pandey, 4. Suryakumar Yadav, 5. Colin de Grandhomme, 6. Yusuf Pathan, 7. Chris Woakes, 8. Piyush Chawla, 9. Umesh Yadav, 10. Sunil Narine, and 11. Trent Boult

1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Manan Vohra, 4. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 5. Axar Patel, 6. David Miller, 7. Marcus Stoinis, 8. Sandeep Sharma, 9. Varun Aaron, 10. Ishant Sharma, and 11. Mohit Sharma

Scores

KXIP: 170/9 (Vohra 28 and Miller 28; U Yadav 4/33)
KKR: 171/2 (Gambhir 72* and Narine 37)

Result: Knight Riders beat Kings XI by eight wickets in their first home match of IPL 2017. Sunil Narine was awarded the man-of-the-match for his all-round performance of 4-14 dots-19-1 with the ball and a 37 (18) with the bat as Gambhir’s opening partner

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) Innings
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Hashim Amla caught Gambhir, bowled de Grandhomme 25 (27) 4 0 92.59
Manan Vohra bowled Chawla 28 (19) 4 1 147.36
Marcus Stoinis bowled Narine 9 (12) 1 0 75.00
Glenn Maxwell caught Uthappa, bowled U Yadav 25 (14) 3 1 178.57
David Miller caught Pandey, bowled U Yadav 28 (19) 2 2 147.36
Wriddhiman Saha caught Woakes, bowled U Yadav 25 (17) 2 2 147.05
Axar Patel caught Narine, bowled U Yadav 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
Mohit Sharma caught Suryakumar, bowled Woakes 10 (8) 1 0 125.00
Varun Aaron caught Gambhir, bowled Woakes 4 (5) 0 0 80.00
Sandeep Sharma not out 0 (0) 0 0 0.00
Batsman who didn’t bat: Ishant Sharma
Extras: 16 (2 no-balls, 13 wides and 1 leg bye)
KXIP’s total: 170/9 in 20 overs, at 8.50 runs per over
KXIP’s fall of wickets: 53/1 (Vohra, 5.1), 66/2 (Stoinis, 7.4), 97/3 (Amla, 11.4), 98/4 (Maxwell, 12.1), 155/5 (Miller, 17.3), 155/6 (Saha, 17.4), 156/7 (Axar, 17.6), 169/8 (Sandeep, 19.5), and 170/9 (Aaron, 19.6)
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Trent Boult 4 10 36 0 9.00
Umesh Yadav 4 11 33 4 8.25
Chris Woakes 3 6 30 2 10.00
Sunil Narine 4 14 19 1 4.75
Piyush Chawla 3 6 36 1 12.00
Colin de Grandhomme 2 8 15 1 7.50
KKR Innings (target: 171 in 20 overs, at 8.55 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Sunil Narine caught Axar, bowled Aaron 37 (18) 4 3 205.55
Gautam Gambhir not out 72 (49) 11 0 146.93
Robin Uthappa bowled Axar 26 (16) 3 1 162.50
Manish Pandey not out 25 (16) 2 1 156.25
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, and Trent Boult
Extras: 11 (5 wides and 6 leg byes)
KKR’s total: 171/2 in 16.3 overs, at 10.36 runs per over
KKR’s fall of wickets: 76/1 (Narine, 5.4) and 116/2 (Uthappa, 9.6)
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Sandeep Sharma 3 8 28 0 9.33
Ishant Sharma 2 7 16 0 8.00
Glenn Maxwell 1 0 18 0 18.00
Varun Aaron 2 4 23 1 11.50
Mohit Sharma 3 3 30 0 10.00
Axar Patel 4 2 36 1 9.00
Marcus Stoinis 1.3 3 14 0 9.33

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