KKR snap losing run with easy win
Kolkata Knight Riders 150 for 4 (Bisla 51*, Mahmood 3-35) beat Kings XI Punjab 149 for 6 (Vohra 31, Kallis 2-14) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
"We know that we are in a desperate situation," Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir said before the start of the match. With three consecutive defeats coming into this game, the defending champions Knight Riders were in disarray. To add to that, in the lead-up to the game, their allrounder Jacques Kallis - who hadn't missed a game since joining the franchise in 2011 - was a doubtful starter after twisting his right knee in the previous match. And one of their experienced local batsmen, Manoj Tiwary, had an injury to his right hand.
However, at a noisy Eden Gardens, Knight Riders injected some life into their campaign with a straightforward six-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab. Not only did Kallis play, he bowled a miserly spell and took the wickets of two key Kings XI batsmen, besides chipping in with a steadying 37 after Knight Riders lost Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan in the second over.
Tiwary wasn't fit to play, but that also worked in Knight Riders' favour as his replacement, Manvinder Bisla, shrugged off his indifferent form with an unbeaten half-century that confirmed the win. He was assisted by Eoin Morgan, the team's designated finisher, who came in and played a series of typically flamboyant strokes to hasten the chase and cut out the tension of a final-over finish.
There was something of a surprise early on when Adam Gilchrist walked out to the toss - "I managed to sneak in another selection," he joked, highlighting how close he was to losing his place after a sustained poor run this season. Gilchrist managed to make his highest score of the season, a run-a-ball 27, but it might still not be enough to save his place for the next game.
Gilchrist combined with Mandeep Singh to provide Kings XI their best start this year, before Kallis broke the opening partnership with his first delivery, getting Mandeep chipping to midwicket. That set up a trend of Kings XI batsmen getting starts without making a big score - Gilchrist holed out to midwicket soon after, Manan Vohra top scored with 31 before picking out the fielder at sweeper cover, David Hussey perished on 21.
Kallis and Sunil Narine choked the runs towards the end of the innings, and Kings XI only managed 20 from the 16th to the 19th over. They finished with a flourish though as Gurkeerat Singh slammed a couple of sixes off L Balaji in the final over to lift the score to 149.
That began to look daunting after Mahmood dismissed Gambhir and Pathan off successive deliveries. Kallis and Bisla, though, put the chase on track with a 66-run stand for the third wicket. Kallis was caught behind attempting a dab in the 11th over, and Knight Riders could have been in big trouble if the bails had fallen after a Piyush Chawla delivery hit leg stump with Morgan on 0. The bails didn't fall, and Morgan unfurled a series of big hits to hand Kings XI their second straight defeat.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo