Kolkata Knight Riders 150-1 (Gambhir 63no) beat
Kings XI Punjab 149-8 (Sehwag 72) by 9 wickets
Indian Premier League 2014, Cuttack
Gautam Gambhir's third consecutive Indian Premier League 2014 half-century guided the Kolkata Knight Riders to a nine-wicket win over the Kings XI Punjab, who were far from their best in Cuttack.
Gambhir, who started the tournament with three ducks in the UAE, hit an unbeaten 63 in 45 balls to continue Kolkata's revival.
Kings XI were unable to build on Virender Sehwag's 72 in 50 balls, closing on 149 for eight as Piyush Chawla picked up three for 19 and Morne Morkel two for 20.
Gambhir then put on a 68-run stand for the first wicket with Robin Uthappa (46) and an unbroken 82-run partnership with Manish Pandey (36 not out) to see Kolkata home with two overs to spare.
With this win, Kolkata lifted themselves to fourth in the points table, with eight points from nine games (four wins). Kings XI continue to stay atop with 14 points from nine games (seven wins), ahead of Chennai Super Kings on run-rate.
Chasing a par score of 150, Kolkata got off to another great start with Gambhir and Uthappa adding 68 runs for the first wicket. The latter provided them a fiery start, carrying on his recent good form, and scoring 46 off 28 balls as he hit eight fours and one six. The 50-run mark thus came up in quick time in the sixth over.
Uthappa was dismissed in the next over, off Parvinder Awana (1-20), but it didn’t hamper the momentum that had already been built. In-form Gambhir was joined in the middle by Manish Pandey and the two put an unbeaten 82-run partnership for the second wicket to completely dash Punjab’s hopes of a comeback.
Gambhir took the hitting role and racked up his fifty off 38 balls, hitting seven fours, while Pandey played a support innings, scoring 36 runs off 35 balls, with three fours.
Such was their dominance over the Punjab bowling that they didn’t look in any trouble at all, scoring the winning runs with two overs remaining.
Earlier, the Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and elected to field first. Punjab didn’t get off to the best of starts with Mandeep Singh dismissed for a duck, but it was a day for some Virender Sehwag fireworks.
The Nawab of Najafgarh scored his first IPL fifty of the season off 35 balls, with seven fours and one six, even as wickets fell around him. The biggest ones of course were Glenn Maxwell (14) and David Miller (13), while Wriddhiman Saha (15) also couldn’t get going on the day.
Kolkata’s bowling plans were very well executed as Morkel (2-20) and Umesh Yadav (1-34) made useful contributions, but it was Chawla who left Punjab in ruins with figures of three for 19 from his four overs.
Sehwag took the score past the 50-run mark in the seventh over as well as the 100-run mark in the 13th over, but thereafter it turned out to be too much to ask from him as well. Sunil Narine (1-30) picked up the other wicket and restricted Punjab to a low score by their lofty standards.
© Cricket World 2014