Gayle, Rahul Star As KXIP Beat KKR By 9 Wickets
Published: 09:41 PM, 21 April 2018
Kings XI Punjab went top of the points tally after beating Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets via DLS at the Eden Gardens in a rain-affected Indian Premier League (IPL) contest on Saturday. Chasing 192, Chris Gayle (62*) and KL Rahul (60) had taken KXIP to 96/0 in just 8.2 overs when rain interrupted the proceedings. However, KXIP were well ahead of the DLS par score of 65.
After a lengthy delay lasting over one-and-a-half hour, the play finally resumed at 8:15 pm (IST) with KXIP being set a revised target of 125 to win from 13 overs. KXIP thus needed just 29 runs off 28 deliveries. Gayle and Rahul wiped off the arrears with ease, scoring quickfire half-centuries apiece.
Gayle hit for a monstrous six after resumption for his third successive 50-plus score of the season and Rahul followed with a six of his own. He was eager to finish the match in a blink when a mistimed pull saw him being caught for 60 (27b).
Gayle, who struggled in patches, extended his superb form to take KKR bowlers to the cleaners during his unbeaten knock. Rahul matched Gayle in aggression but looked more convincing during his innings which had nine fours and two sixes. Gayle`s unbeaten knock was laced with five fours and six sixes.
Earlier, KKR rode on Chris Lynn`s 41-ball 74 to post a challenging total. The Queenslander, who had scored a 49 against Sunrisers Hyderabad but did not look his swashbuckling best till now, took time to settle down against the spinners and plundered the quicks, smashing six fours and four sixes in his first half-century of the season.
Lynn got a reprieve in the 13th over when he was on 62. Barinder Sran (2/50) dropped a catch at deep extra cover off Andrew Tye (2/30) but the damage was already done.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik (43; 28b 6x4) gave him good company with a composed knock. The pair stitched together a 62-run partnership off 34 balls for the fourth wicket. Karthik holed out to Tye at deep backward square off Sran with U-19 World Cup winner Shubman Gill (14 not out) staying on till the end.
KKR lost Sunil Narine (1) early to Mujeeb before, the mystery spinner-turned opener picking out Karun Nair at long-on where the Karnataka batsman took a brilliant catch.
In his first over, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/32) gave away just five runs and took the wicket but only to be punished by Robin Uthappa in the next. The dashing right-hander swept the Afghanistan teenage spinner for three consecutive fours, taking 15 runs off the 4th over.
Lynn looked in his elements from the outset, hitting Sran for two sixes and a four just after the Powerplay as the hosts looked in control of the game.
Skipper Ashwin broke the 72-run second wicket stand in the first ball of his second over when Uthappa (34; 23b 5x4 1x6) lost his concentration and tried to clear the deep wicket boundary, only to find Nair there who took an easy catch.
Nitish Rana (3) was run out after the in-form batsman fell prey to a poor mix-up with Lynn while trying to take a single. At the halfway stage, KKR were 86/3 with Karthik and Lynn at the crease.
From there on, Lynn shifted gears to take Yuvraj Singh and Andrew Tye to the cleaners in the middle overs and bringing up his 50 off 30 balls.
Suffering from cramps, Lynn finally departed by bottom-edging Tye to wicketkeeper Rahul. Andre Russell (10) did not make an impact as KKR`s surge tapered off towards the end as they could not reach the 200-mark.