Clinical Kolkata trounce Punjab
Kolkata Knight Riders 127 for 2 (Gambhir 66*) beat Kings XI Punjab 124 for 7 (Gilchrist 40*, Lee 2-26, Narine 2-24) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In one of the more one-sided games of the tournament, Kolkata Knight Riders breezed to an eight-wicket win and made amends for fluffing a chase against the same opponents, Kings XI Punjab, three days ago. A deflated Kings XI limped to 124 on their home surface after winning the toss but there were no twists as Knight Riders, led by Gautam Gambhir, attained the target with a risk-free approach.
The pitch had a layer of grass and offered movement off the seam, but it didn't have the kind of moisture that gave the bowlers an edge in the previous Mohali game, against Pune Warriors. Nevertheless, the batsmen didn't have the freedom to hit through the line - a staple fare in the plenty of games so far in the IPL.
None of the Kings XI batsmen could bat through. Adam Gilchrist kept the momentum going with a couple of boundaries through the on side, but pulled a hamstring while completing a quick single. He had to retire, and his untimely departure in the sixth over dented the run-rate.
Kings XI were going along at 7.50 but post-Gilchrist, it had declined to as low as 5.93. The Knight Riders bowlers didn't allow any big partnerships to develop, nothing higher than 24.
Much depended on Marsh to give the team momentum, but he departed for 33, albeit in controversial circumstances. He chased a wide delivery from Lee shaping away and got a thick outside edge which dipped to the wicketkeeper, but Manvinder Bisla immediately claimed the catch. The umpires conferred and took Bisla's word, but replays couldn't confirm if he had his gloves underneath the ball. Marsh accepted the ruling, but the team owner Preity Zinta didn't appear too pleased with the decision, querying one of the match officials before Gilchrist stepped in to restore calm.
It triggered off a steady collapse as David Hussey fell shortly after due to bad calling, before Dimitri Mascarenhas and Paras Dogra perished going for the big shots. Gilchrist returned in the 17th over to pick up the pieces and he struck the only six of the innings, in the final over. That Kings XI managed only three boundaries in the last ten overs showed how Knight Riders tightened the noose.
Brendon McCullum got the chase off the blocks with forceful pulls to the on side, but ironically fell to an embarrassing shot in the same region. Piyush Chawla bowled a long hop way down the leg side but somehow, McCullum contrived to find short fine leg, prompting a disbelieving grin from Chawla.
Gambhir remained strong square of the wicket on both sides, cutting when given width and nudging away deliveries on the pads.
Bisla launched Harmeet Singh for a six over mid-off but was bowled dragging one on to his stumps just before the halfway stage. With a paltry target to defend, Kings XI could have attacked more, kept a slip or a couple of men in close catching positions to force a mistake. Gambhir had the freedom to use his feet against the spinners, getting to his half-century off 36 balls.
Gambhir had earlier demanded more application from his middle order. Today, he led by example.
Edited by Siddarth Ravindran
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo