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Kolkata Knight Riders cruises to victory

S. Sabanayakan

KOLKATA: It could not be a more convincing than the eight-wicket victory Kolkata Knight Riders achieved against Kings XI Punjab in an IPL-IV match at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

After restricting the visiting team to 119 for six in 20 overs, the home side overcame an initial hiccup before sealing the fifth victory in eight games.

A smart shower four hours before the start of the game did not dampen the mood.

KXIP batsmen struggle

The KKR captain won the toss and invited Gilchrist to bat first. KXIP first stumbled and then struggled against some accurate bowling to set a modest 120-run target with an asking rate of six per over. That obviously did not pose much of a problem as Gambhir and in-form Manoj Tiwary ensured victory with 16 balls to spare.

Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla was declared Man-of-the-Match for his measly spell in which he dismissed Gilchrist and David Hussey.

Jacques Kallis's bad run with the bat continued as he was the first to leave failing to keep a backfoot push off left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt and was taken by David Hussey at covers.

Eoin Morgan, promoted to open the innings, played some furious shots to collect 28 off 15 deliveries with six fours before Ryan Harris picked up a brilliant catch at mid-wicket off Bhatt, who replaced Shalabh Srivastava in the playing XI.

KXIP's success ended there. From 4.2 overs the unbeaten third-wicket pair compiled a match-winning 85 runs off 78 balls.

At the end Gambhir remained unbeaten on a 44-ball 45 with four fours and Tiwary was unconquered on a 41-ball 34 with three boundaries and the lone six of the innings.

Top of the table

The win lifted KKR to the top of the table with 10 points, ahead of Mumbai Indians on net run rate.

Put in, KXIP had a cautious start with two hard-hitting batsmen, Gilchrist and Valthaty, trying to come to terms with the slow nature of the pitch. Gilchrist, however, opened up in Brett Lee's second over with a six and a four to set the momentum.

Valthaty, itching to play his big shots, fell first in the fifth over bowled by Yusuf Pathan holing out to Tiwary.

Disaster struck the Kings XI as three more main batsmen returned to the dugout for the addition of only 21 runs off 29 balls. Shaun Marsh was run out for five, Gilchrist for 26 off 27 balls with three fours and the lone six of the innings and Abhishek Nayar, another run out victim for no score.

Hussey and Dinesh Karthik steadied the innings with sensible play to put on 33 runs for the fifth wicket off 34 balls. Karthik was in his element, nicely judging the pace of the pitch to play some clever shots square of the wicket.

He lost Hussey for 15 at the team's score of 86. Karthik continued to play well in the company of Bipul Sharma, who came in for Sunny Singh. The two added 31 valuable runs for the sixth wicket in 4.4 overs.

The former India stumper's steady 42 off 42 deliveries with four boundaries was the cornerstone on which the KXIP total of 119 for six was built.

Abdulla and Bhatia were the pick of the KKR bowlers. Abdulla had two for 19 in his four and Bhatia was economical in his four conceding only 18.

Kings XI Punjab: A. Gilchrist b Abdulla 26 (27b, 3x4, 1x6), P. Valthaty c Tiwary b Yusuf 7 (8b, 1x4), S. Marsh (run out) 5 (7b, 1x4), D. Karthik (run out) 42 (42b, 4x4), A. Nayar (run out) 0 (2b), D. Hussey lbw b Abdulla 15 (20b, 1x4), B. Sharma (not out) 16 (12b, 1x4), Praveen (not out) 2 (2b); Extras (b-1, w-5): 6; Total (for six wkts in 20 overs): 119.

Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-40, 3-44, 4-53, 5-86, 6-117.

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Lee 4-0-27-0, Balaji 3-0-21-0, Abdulla 4-0-19-2, Yusuf 4-0-24-1, Bhatia 4-0-18-0, Tiwary 1-0-9-0.

Kolkata Knight Riders: J. Kallis c Hussey b Bhatt 1 (4b), E. Morgan c Harris b Bhatt 28 (15b, 6x4), G. Gambhir (not out) 45 (44b, 4x4), M. Tiwary (not out) 34 (41b, 3x4, 1x6); Extras (lb-1, w-11): 12; Total (for two wkts in 17.2 overs): 120.

Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-35.

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Praveen 2-0-14-0, Bhatt 4-0-22-2, D. Hussey 2-0-19-0, Harris 2-0-13-0, Chawla 3.2-0-29-0, Sharma 2-0-9-0, Valthaty 2-0-13-0.

Man-of-the-Match: Iqbal Abdulla.

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