Kings XI Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with Impressive 14-run Win Over Knight Riders

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) still have too much to do to stand a chance of making the playoffs, but against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on a crunch night, Glenn Maxwell and co. showed plenty of character and discipline to come up trumps by 14 runs. Kings XI’s victory means that other than Mumbai Indians, teams who are currently second, third, fourth, and fifth, have a chance of making the IPL 2017 playoffs.

Punjab bowled and fielded better than they had against Gujarat Lions, to restrict Kolkata to 153/6 in the 168-run chase. They took catches that were a lot more difficult than the ones they dropped on Sunday night and the entire bowling attack stuck to their guns against a powerful and fearsome KKR batting line-up.

Having been put into bat, Kings XI made what you can call a par score (167/7) at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium, where a total of 190 had been chased down comfortably only a couple of nights back. But the hosts of the 49th match will have been happy at the midway point with the score they had posted, considering that they were reduced to 56/3 in the ninth over of their innings.

Glenn Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha made the telling contributions with the bat, scoring 44 (25) and 38 (33) respectively and taking their team to a respectable score. Rahul Tewatia, who had been brought into the playing XI in place of Gurkeerat Singh Mann, chipped in with a crucial eight-ball 15* to take his team to 167.

Most of the Knight Riders’s bowlers did a good job, but some clean hitting from Maxwell during the middle phase and Tewatia towards the end did considerable damage to their bowling figures. Chris Woakes was the standout bowler, taking 2/20 in his four overs and keeping a lid on the scoring. Kuldeep Yadav took two wickets (Maxwell and Saha) as well, though he went for 34 runs off his four overs.

In reply, Knight Riders once again made the kind of start they will have been looking for: a quick start which brings the required run rate (8.40 runs per over at the start of the innings) down and also dents the psyche of an already beleaguered opposition. Opening the batting, Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn once again struck a series of boundaries in the powerplay and gave the impression that they could carry out a demolition job on the Kings XI bowlers as well, similar to the one on Sunday evening, against Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling.

Thankfully for the neutrals and Punjab, Mohit Sharma struck in his very first over (the fourth of the innings), taking the huge wicket of Sunil Narine. Knight Riders have always been blessed with long batting line-ups and therefore, the total they were chasing will not have perturbed them one bit, with the likes of Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Colin de Grandhomme capable of changing the course of a match quickly.

One left-hander was replaced by another, with Gautam Gambhir joining Chris Lynn in the middle. The KKR captain, because he had a player like Lynn at the other end and the score his team were chasing wasn’t a huge one, was unsure of the tempo he had to play at. He wasn’t in his usual batting rhythm, but Gambhir neither rotated the strike nor kept up the momentum of the innings with big-hitting. Once Maxwell introduced spin and got Tewatia and Axar Patel to bowl in tandem, Lynn was neutralised. This was when the course of the match started to turn in favour of Kings XI.

61 runs came in the powerplay, for only the loss of Narine, and the chase was wonderfully set up for the visitors. However, the match pivoted on some extremely tight bowling from Tewatia and Axar Patel during the middle phase of the innings. After scoring at more than 10 runs per over, Knight Riders’s innings ebbed away.

Even with Lynn, Gambhir and Manish Pandey still in the middle, the visitors managed to score just 63 more runs in the next 10 overs (124/3 at the end of 16 overs), to set up a tense finish. Tewatia, with his twin strikes in one over (14th of the innings, dismissing Gambhir and Uthappa in back-to-back deliveries), was an integral reason in Kings XI successfully defending 167.

Mohit Sharma was another Kings XI bowler who bowled well throughout. He tended to vary the pace of his deliveries on more than a consistent basis, but on this night, his variations in pace flummoxed the Knight Riders’s batsmen, who, in trying to hit the ball and cart it around, completely missed the back-of-the-hand slower deliveries and knuckle balls.

Having hit a lot of boundaries in the first 10 overs, KKR, even with a big hitter like Lynn batting for a vast majority of the innings, didn’t find the boundary when they had to and at least not with the regularity which was necessary. This, therefore, kept pushing the required run rate upwards. The visitors didn’t manage the constantly rising required run rate particularly well and fell short by 14 runs. What’s well worth a mention here is that between Gambhir, Uthappa, Pandey, and Yusuf, the core of the KKR batting line-up, they managed to score just 28 runs off 45 balls, a run rate of less than four runs per over. And the 49th match was won and lost here.

Mohit Sharma, for taking 2/24 in his three overs, was awarded the man-of-the-match.

Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 49th Match Scorecard

Playing XIs

Kings XI: 1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Martin Guptill, 3. Shaun Marsh, 4. Manan Vohra, 5. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 6. Axar Patel, 7. Matt Henry, 8. Mohit Sharma, 9. Sandeep Sharma, 10. Swapnil Singh, and 11. Rahul Tewatia

Knight Riders: 1. Gautam Gambhir (c), 2. Chris Lynn 3. Sunil Narine, 4. Robin Uthappa (wk), 5. Manish Pandey, 6. Yusuf Pathan, 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Ankit Singh Rajpoot, 9. Umesh Yadav, 10. Chris Woakes, and 11. Kuldeep Yadav

Scores

Punjab: 167/6 (Maxwell 44 and Saha 38; Woakes 2/20)
Kolkata: 153/6 (Lynn 84; Tewatia 2/18 and Mohit 2/24)

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) innings (toss: Kolkata, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Martin Guptill leg before wicket Narine 12 (16) 1 0 75.00
Manan Vohra caught Uthappa, bowled Umesh 25 (16) 4 0 156.25
Shaun Marsh bowled Woakes 11 (10) 2 0 110.00
Wriddhiman Saha stumped Uthappa, bowled Kuldeep 38 (33) 2 1 115.15
Glenn Maxwell caught Woakes, bowled Kuldeep 44 (25) 1 4 176.00
Axar Patel not out 8 (10) 0 0 80.00
Swapnil Singh bowled Woakes 2 (2) 0 0 100.00
Rahul Tewatia not out 15 (8) 3 0 187.50
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma and Matt Henry
Extras: 12 (6 wides, 4 leg byes and 2 byes)
KXIP’s total: 167/6 in 20 overs, at 8.35 runs per over
KXIP’s fall of wickets: 39/1 (Vohra, 4.5), 41/2 (Guptill, 5.5), 56/3 (Marsh, 8.3), 127/4 (Maxwell, 15.3), 146/5 (Saha, 17.5), and 149/6 (Swapnil, 18.2)
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Umesh Yadav 3 7 26 1 8.67
Colin de Grandhomme 4 8 37 0 9.25
Sunil Narine 4 8 27 1 6.75
Chris Woakes 4 12 20 2 5.00
Ankit Singh Rajpoot 2 4 17 0 8.50
Kuldeep Yadav 3 4 34 2 11.33
Kolkata innings (target: 168 runs in 20 overs, at 8.40 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Sunil Narine bowled Mohit 18 (10) 4 0 180.00
Chris Lynn run out Axar/Saha 84 (52) 8 3 161.53
Gautam Gambhir caught Marsh, bowled Tewatia 8 (18) 0 0 44.44
Robin Uthappa caught Axar, bowled Tewatia 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
Manish Pandey caught Axar, bowled Henry 18 (23) 1 0 78.26
Colin de Grandhomme not out 11 (7) 1 0 157.14
Yusuf Pathan caught Maxwell, bowled Mohit 2 (3) 0 0 66.66
Chris Woakes not out 8 (6) 0 1 133.33
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav and Ankit Singh Rajpoot
Extras: 4 (2 wides and 2 leg byes)
KKR’s total: 153/6 in 20 overs, at 7.65 runs per over
KKR’s fall of wickets: 39/1 (Narine, 3.4), 78/2 (Gambhir, 9.3), 79/3 (Uthappa, 9.5), 131/4 (Pandey, 17.1), 132/5 (Lynn, 17.2), and 139/6 (Yusuf, 18.1)
Punjab bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Sandeep Sharma 4 6 31 0 7.75
Matt Henry 3 5 31 1 10.33
Mohit Sharma 3 8 24 2 8.00
Axar Patel 4 9 28 0 7.00
Rahul Tewatia 4 10 18 2 4.50
Swapnil Singh 2 2 19 0 9.50

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