Knight Riders cruise to eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab

Mohali, April 19: Kolkata Knight Riders took sweet revenge of their loss at home as they beat Kings XI Punjab comfortably by eight wickets in their return clash in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here Wednesday.

Knight Riders were unlucky at home as they lost by just two runs in a last ball finish. But here they put on a dominating all-round performance to beat Kings XI.

Knight Riders, who were asked to field, first skittled out Kings XI for 124 for seven and then chased down the target with 21 balls to spare.

Captain Gautam Gambhir starred with the bat for Knight Riders, smashing 66 off 44 balls, which included seven fours and a six as they scored 127 for two in 16.3 overs.

Kings XI electing to bat, once again lost last year’s top run getter, Paul Valthaty (8), early in the innings. Captain Adam Gilchrist (40) steadied the ship and looked in good form till he pulled his hamstring.

With Gilchrist limping off the pitch, Mandeep Singh (6) walked in but soon made his way back to the pavilion courtesy Lakshmipathy Balaji.

The stage was set for the two Australians at the crease, Shaun Marsh (33) and David Hussey (10).

Marsh, who has been in woeful form for his national team, looked in great touch and together with Hussey looked like giving Kolkata some headaches.

However, the turning point of the match came when Marsh was sent back in what looked like a dubious decision. Marsh edged the ball off compatriot and speedster Brett Lee but video replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball bounced just before wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla.

Marsh’s dismissal triggered a collapse as Punjab soon lost Hussey to a needless run out.

From 86 for two in the 14th over, Kings XI could add just 40 runs in six overs.

In reply, the Knight Riders got off to a rollicking start, courtesy captain Gambhir and Brendon Mc Cullum (15). Gambhir especially looked in great touch and was very severe on the Punjab bowlers in the first six overs.

McCullum had himself to blame as he holed out to short fine leg on a ball that should have been sent to the stands.

Punjab gave themselves an inkling of hope by dismissing Bisla for 11. However, Jacques Kallis (30 not out) and Gambhir took control of the match and cantered home without much trouble.

IANS