Kolkata Knight Riders 127-2 (Gambhir 66no) beat
Kings XI Punjab 124-7 (Gichrist 40no, Narine 2-24)
Indian Premier League, Mohali
The Kolkata Knight Riders cruised to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali to move up to third place in the Indian Premier League table.
The two sides met three days ago at Eden Gardens but there was to be no repeat of a last-ball thriller, won by Kings XI by two runs, as the Kolkata side ran out the easy victors.
Batting first the Kings XI scored 124 for seven but once Gautam Gambhir got into his stride, scoring a wonderful 66 not out, that score was woefully inadequate and victory was sealed with more than three overs to spare.
Right from the start, Kolkata were on top form, Brett Lee quickly inconveniencing the Kings XI batsman, having Paul Valthaty caught behind for eight and he would go on to dismiss Shaun Marsh (33) in the same manner. Marsh showed excellent sportsmanship, taking the wicket-keeper's word that the ball had carried before walking off - had the decision gone to a third umpire, he might well have been allowed to carry on.
Marsh struck four fours in 30 balls but a string of batsmen after him failed, Mandeep Singh (6), David Hussey (10), Paras Dogra (6), Dimitri Mascarenhas (9) and Piyush Chawla (9) all falling cheaply.
Leg-spinner Sunil Narine turned in another impressive performance with a haul of two for 24 and the wickets of Dogra and Chawla while Lee took two for 26.
There was a wicket apiece for Lakshmipathy Balaji and Rajat Bhatia and standing alone for the Kings XI was Adam Gilchrist, who retired early in his innings but returned to hit an unbeaten 40 in 30 balls with three fours and the only six of the innings.
In total contrast to the way Kings XI had begun, Kolkata got off to a stormer as they looked to reverse the result of the recent meeting between the two sides.
Gautam Gambhir played some delightful strokes including a chip over midwicket for six before his opening partnership of 53 with recalled Brendon McCullum was ended in bizarre circumstances when the New Zealander spooned a rank long-hop from Chawla straight to Mascarenhas at backward square.
Bisla then joined Gambhir and gracefully lifted Harmeet Singh for six over long off before he was bowled by Chawla for 11, bringing together Gambhir and Jacques Kallis.
Gambhir combined wonderful placement with a deft touch, equally as strong and attractive in driving the ball over the covers as guidign it to third man and he reached his half-century in swift time before finishing on 66 not out in 44 balls.
Kallis ended the game in style by driving Bhargav Bhatt over cover for four and then straight down the ground for six, sealing the win in 16.3 overs.
© Cricket World 2012