Kolkata Muscle Their Way Top
Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab
Indian Premier League 2011
Kolkata Knight Riders ventured into unchartered territory, topping the IPL table with ten points after they beat Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets in Kolkata. They are tied on points with Mumbai Indians who have a game in hand. Kings XI Punjab meanwhile have two games in hand and would want to prop up from their current eighth position.
Put into bat first, Kings XI tried to get away quickly as Adam Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty put on 32 runs for the first wicket. But the breakthrough came in the 5th over with the latter dismissed for seven runs. The big wicket however was that of Shaun Marsh, who was run out in the next over, for only five runs and Punjab’s batting was dealt a huge blow. There were two other run outs, those of Dinesh Karthik and Abhishek Nayar, and it reflected on the surge in fielding performance of the Knight Riders. But even before these wickets, the visitors lost their captain for 26 runs, bowled by Iqbal Abdullah, Kolkata’s most successful bowler in the IPL.
The flurry of wickets left them struggling at 53 for 4 in the 10th over, but before he was run out, Karthik was able to string together useful partnerships in the lower order that helped Kings to cross the hundred run mark. He made a run a ball 42, with four fours, and put on 33 runs with David Hussey. Another 31 runs came for his sixth wicket partnership with Bipul Sharma when he was last man out in the 20th over. Even so, Kings XI could only drag themselves to 119 for 6. Abdullah rounded off another brilliant display with 2 for 19 off his four overs.
The target was never going to be a challenging one for Kolkata who have proven their batting might again and again in the tournament. But they tried a new combination at the top when Eoin Morgan opened with Jacques Kallis. It failed to take off as Kallis was out for just one in the 2nd over. Then three overs later Morgan was out caught to a superb catch from Ryan Harris, having made 28 runs off 15 balls. He hit six boundaries in his cameo stay at the wicket. From then on, the show was taken over by skipper Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary. Both being the in-form batsmen of their team, they did not let Kings have another sniff of a chance and ground out the victory with an unbeaten 85 run stand for the third wicket. Gambhir scored 45 not out off 44 balls, including four fours, while Tiwary made 34 off 41 balls, laced with three fours and a six. It was a muscling performance from Kolkata who now look well set for their first knock-out appearance in the Indian Premier League.
© Cricket World 2011