IPL 2018, Match 18, KKR v KXIP: Punjab Thrash Kolkata Courtesy Gayle and Rahul Storm
The Kings XI Punjab produced a breathtaking performance in the 18th match of the tournament and defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders quite comprehensively by nine wickets.
Courtesy their huge victory they also climbed to the top of the ladder. Chasing a big target of 192 to win, the Punjab openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle smashed the KKR bowlers all around the park before persistent showers halted play for an hour. The duo again came back and finished off the job with utmost ease when the target was cut down to 125 in 13 overs.
Earlier, it was Chris Lynn who roared back to form with a superb knock of 74 runs off 41 deliveries.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik also played well which helped KKR post a big total of 191 on the board. However, at one stage they looked well set for a score well more than 200. It was some good death bowling by the Punjab which didn’t allow them to go hammers and tongs in the death overs.
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 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 a 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.
The Punjab openers began in a rollicking fashion. KL Rahul smashed three exceptional boundaries and raced off to 18 off just six deliveries.
Chris Gayle also joined in the act and took on the KKR bowlers with disdain. His Caribbean teammate Andre Russell was the one who was at the receiving end of a Gayle onslaught.
The southpaw kept pounding him over the boundary ropes for sixes after sixes. Rahul, on the other hand, was doing about his job in an unfazed manner.
Despite Gayle hogging the limelight, Rahul was maintaining a better strike rate than his partner. When rain eventually halted the match, Punjab had raced to 96/0 in just 7.5 overs. They were way ahead of the D/L Lewis target.
The groundstaff did a terrific job to make sure at least some more play was possible. The target got reduced to 125 in 13 overs. However, by then, Punjab was already coasting towards the target. Chris Gayle began with a six of Piyush Chawla and completed a half-century. In the very next over his partner, KL Rahul reached the feat by smashing Sunil Narine for a big six. However, he got dismissed after hitting a couple of fours as well.
Punjab eventually reached the target in the 11th over, as Gayle smashed a six of Tom Curran to seal the deal with 5 required.
Kolkata Knight Riders 191/7 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 74, Dinesh Karthik 43, Andrew Tye 2/30)
Kings XI Punjab 126/1 in 11.1 overs (Chris Gayle 62*, KL Rahul 60, Sunil Narine 1/23)
Kings XI Punjab won by nine wickets (with 11 balls remaining under D/L method)
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