Clinical Kolkata trounce Kings XI to enter final

Clinical Kolkata trounce Kings XI to enter final

Knight Riders score 28-run victory

Clinical Kolkata trounce Kings XI to enter final

It turned out to be a memorable day for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

With two of their players – skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa – celebrating their return to the national squad, their team-mates then joined in on the festivities in superb fashion as Kolkata stormed into the final of IPL-7.

In the Qualifier 1 clash against Kings XI Punjab, the resurgent Knight Riders showcased their bowling might against the best batting side in the tournament, romping to a 28-run win at the packed Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

Riding on the in-form Robin Uthappa’s (42, 30b, 4x4, 2x6) brilliance at the top and handy contributions from the middle and lower order, the Kolkata outfit posted a challenging 163/8.
Despite successfully chasing plenty of big totals this season, Punjab, with the Duckworth-Lewis playing on their minds following a drizzle that arrived in the third over of their innings, lost the plot by trying one shot too many before stopping at 135/8 in 20 overs.

There was also a 25-minute interruption during KKR’s innings.

Uthappa was in sensational touch again as he cracked his 10th consecutive 40-plus score to showcase his new-found hunger and desire. After losing his skipper Gambhir in the second over, Uthappa combined brilliantly with his Karnataka team-mate Manish Pandey to set KKR on their way.

Despite the early loss, the Karnataka duo did not panic and went about the repair work in a brisk manner.

Uthappa, easily in the form of his life, was in his elements as he dominated the Punjab attack with élan. Barring one rash shot against Parwinder Awana, the 28-year-old appeared in command as strokes flowed from the meat of his bat.

Just when they appeared to be taking the game away, Punjab hauled themselves back with the outstanding Akshar Patel (4-1-11-2) handing KKR a double blow. The left-arm spinner had Uthappa caught at extra-cover when the batsman tried to play him inside out before sending Pandey back two balls later.

The double loss seemed to put the brakes on KKR but Shakib-Al-Hasan and Yusuf Pathan took over from Uthappa-Pandey smoothly, helping their side get past the 100-run mark before falling to Karanveer Singh in back-to-back deliveries in the 15th over.

The second double arrested their momentum but Ryan ten Doeschate (17), Suryakumar Yadav (20) and Piyush Chawla (17 n.o.) swung their bats lower down the order to push it past 160.

Needing a solid start to overhaul the target given a fine bowling attack that thrives on the slow-paced Eden track and the pressure of the partisan nature of the crowd, Punjab suffered early disappointment, losing Virender Sehwag in the second over to Umesh Yadav, who came up with brilliant show (4-0-13-3).

Manan Vohra (26, 19b, 3x6) and Wriddhiman Saha (35, 31b, 2x4, 2x6) kept the tempo going by smacking some lusty blows that gave no indications of the collapse to come.

Once Vohra fell to Morne Morkel and Glenn Maxwell departed, thanks to over exuberance in the eighth over, Punjab’s hopes went downhill thereafter.

Other big-hitters David Miller and George Bailey too failed as Punjab succumbed to their second loss of the season against Kolkata.