IPL 2018: A Lot More Happier than the Previous One – Ravichandran Ashwin
The Kolkata Knight Riders got off to a relatively sedate start, as they lost Sunil Narine in only the 2nd over of the innings. Chris Lynn who was yet to fire ahead of the encounter roared back to form with a sensational knock of 74 off 44 deliveries.
However, his innings was overshadowed by some terrific hitting by the Punjab openers, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul.
Both looked in ominous touch and made sure Punjab reached the target with utmost ease in the end. Rain played spoilsport for an hour, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Punjab from winning the match quite comprehensively in the end by nine wickets.
It was Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin who won the toss and put the hosts in. KKR lost Sunil Narine in only the 2nd over. Robin Uthappa joined Lynn in the middle, and the duo started resurrecting the innings.
Uthappa, in particular, looked in sensational touch and struck some gorgeous shots, to begin with. Lynn, on the other hand, played himself in and launched himself in one of the overs of Barinder Sran.
He smashed a couple of sixes to get going while Uthappa started the carnage with a six of the first ball of the over. After a 72 runs partnership, it was Punjab skipper Ashwin who provided the all-important breakthrough in the form of Robin Uthappa’s wicket. It was a short of length delivery, and Uthappa hit it straight to the deep fielder.
Lynn roars back to form
Lynn continued the assault on Punjab, as Kolkata looked well in pursuit of a score of 210 plus. Nitish Rana who looked in good touch was unfortunately run-out. It was a terrible miscommunication between the duo which led to the downfall.
Captain Dinesh Karthik also started off brilliantly and began with two exquisite boundaries of the bowling of Ashwin.
Lynn eventually got dismissed by a well-disguised slower delivery by Andrew Tye. However, he had given the platform to the home team to go big in the last few overs. Some quick wickets prevented the run flow of Kolkata, and eventually, they could only manage to score 191 in their allotted 20 overs.
Gayle and Rahul thrash KKR bowlers
The Punjab openers helped them get off to a superb start. KL Rahul raced off to 18 in just six deliveries which included some exquisite drives of the bowling of Shivam Mavi.
Gayle also joined in the act pretty soon and started smashing the KKR bowlers all around the park. His teammate Andre Russell came in for some special treatment, as the southpaw launched to his bowling.
KL Rahul, on the other hand, did his job in an unfazed manner. He was maintaining a healthier strike rate than his partner despite the fact that Gayle hogged most of the limelight.
After a 96-run partnership between the openers, rain halted play for an hour. The ground staff in Kolkata did a terrific job which allowed the umpires to resume the game.
The target was reduced to 125 in 13 overs which meant that Punjab only needed 29 of the next 28 deliveries to come out on top. Gayle reached his half-century by smashing a straight six off Piyush Chawla on the very first delivery after resumption.
KL Rahul also reached the feat by striking a six of Sunil Narine in the next over. However, Rahul couldn’t quite finish the job and got dismissed in the same over itself.
Punjab eventually won on the 1st delivery of the 12th over, as Gayle smashed a six off Tom Curran. It didn’t come from the middle of the bat, but the power of Gayle took it over the boundary ropes.
Now here is what winning skipper Ravichandran Ashwin said at the post-match presentation ceremony,
“A lot more happier than the previous one. During the second time-out I pulled the boys and told them if we can keep them to 190, it will be a great favour to the batsmen. You don’t really plan with someone like Chris. We are a team that embraces winning the powerplay with the bat.”
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