Knight Riders v Kings XI, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi April 26, 2014

Kings XI Punjab keep winning

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Agarkar: Indian batsmen still KKR's issue

Kings XI Punjab 132 for 9 (Sehwag 37, Chawla 3-19, Narine 3-24) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 109 (Suryakumar 34, Sandeep 3-21) by 23 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Glenn Maxwell and David Miller failed for the first time this season, but that didn't prevent Kings XI Punjab from extending their winning streak to four this year, and seven overall. Sandeep Sharma had the new ball curling around, Akshar Patel showed why he is the most economical left-arm spinner in the tournament, and Rishi Dhawan also kept it tight before the spearhead Mitchell Johnson finished off the job.

It wasn't a vintage game of Twenty20 cricket, as none of the batsmen could time the ball on a surface on which the heavyweight batting line-up of Royal Challengers Bangalore had been shot out for 70 in the afternoon.

On a green track with plenty of cracks in it, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir had hoped it would be easier to bat under lights, but his decision to bowl first backfired as the ball jagged around after sunset. Set a seemingly straightforward target of 133, Knight Riders lost wickets regularly and, though Suryakumar Yadav briefly threatened to take the game close, wound up well short.

The pillars of the Knight Riders squad when the teams were revamped in 2011, Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan, continued to have miserable seasons. Gambhir pushed himself down to No. 3 after three zeroes in a row, but nearly had a golden duck again, only for Sandeep to put down a difficult, diving return catch. There was further relief for Gambhir as he got a single to fine leg to score his first run of the tournament, but minutes later he handed a catch to short extra cover.

If Gambhir's IPL troubles have been confined to this season, Yusuf has struggled to recapture the heights of the first cycle of the tournament. Once again he looked woefully out of touch, lbw for 3 after being bringing his bat down late on a Rishi Dhawan delivery. He rarely bowls these days and isn't the quickest in the field either, all of which combine to put his place under serious scrutiny.

Knight Riders openers couldn't get any momentum against Sandeep and Johnson, with both dismissed for single-digit scores. Chris Lynn couldn't recreate the form that yielded a quickfire 45 in his first game of the season earlier this week, and Knight Riders' chances were nearly extinguished once Robin Uthappa was run out by a precise throw from George Bailey at cover in the 13th over. Knight Riders were 62 for 6, looking for a miracle. It didn't arrive.

They wouldn't have expected to be in that position after the performance of their bowlers. Knight Riders' decision to bring in Piyush Chawla for Vinay Kumar, who bowled them to a last-over win two days earlier, paid off as Chawla bamboozled Virender Sehwag with a googly, and benefited from the long boundaries in Abu Dhabi by getting big guns Miller and Bailey caught in the deep.

Chawla's intervention came after some hostile new-ball bowling from Morne Morkel, who tormented the Indians in the top order with his 145-plus kmph deliveries, and got the prized scalp of Maxwell with a legstump yorker. Kings XI collapsed from 101 for 4 to 132 for 9 against the wiles of Chawla and Sunil Narine, who took three in an over. It didn't matter, though, as Knight Riders' batting woes continued.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 28, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    shakib must play with kalis. Shakib is top raked player than kalis. morkel may drop with gambir and yusuf.

  • android_user on April 28, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Sarnot ..super yur playing 11 bt they dnt drop gambir and yusuf..simply our time vest man ..they thinking one one mach yusuf will fire that time all mach is overing...

  • sarnot on April 28, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    As of a BD and Shakib fan I would love to see him in KKR playing squad but I can understand in what perspective he was left out of last two games. As of an allrounder he is good but if you need a better batsman then Lynn must be the right choice and Piyush Chawla got better variations than Shakib on balling.

    But in other perspective I would always pick shakib for the team of KKR as most of their batsman is out of form and Shakib is a consistent player. If you compare his strike rate with Kallis in IPL then he is way better and he got a good average too. Ghambir and Pathan is out of form then picking one more batsman like shakib should add more strength to the team. And playing Vinay Kumar at the place of Morne Morke, Shakib at the place of Pathan and Bisla at place of Ghambhir will make the team more strong for sure.

    Best KKR 11 to me- 1. Bisla 2. Manish 3. Kallis 4. Robin 5. Shakib 6. Lynn 7. Yadav 8. Narine 9. Vinay 10. U.Yadav 11. Piyush Chawla

  • Ha8rick on April 28, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    To the KKR Team Management: For the sake of your fans and the future of KKR, PLEASE, PLEASE drop Yousuf Pathan. He has scored only 1 fifty since joining KKR and he has been useless. He is dragging the team down. You have MANY decent players in the KKR squad, give them a chance. Make Bisla play instead of Pathan who is a better keeper than Uthappa.

    To GAUTAM GAMBHIR: Either drop yourself from the team and be a Non-Playing captain or go down the order and give others the opportunity to build the platform. You will find the runs and the form you are looking form. Your best position woul be to bat at #5.

  • dummy4fb on April 27, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    Being a Bangladeshi I really feel ashamed of some comments from some Shakib fan. Some Points: 1. Shakib got chance to play in first two match, he did not play bad. however, as the experiment of Lynn clicked in the third match KKR's plan of sticking with Lynn is justified. At least after Lynn's first match performance he deserves some chances. 2.May be combining bowling and bating performances shakib is more useful than a single player. lets say he is 70+70=140 but KKR needs Someone with 100 for bating from foreign player as his bowling can be compensated by Chawla. 3.Shakib should be brought in in case of heavy spin friendly wicket by substituting morkel with other pacer or in case of Lynn's poor performance. then if Shakib play extraordinary he will must suffice.

    Btw, I am a shakib fan and love KKR partly because of him.

  • shanto_123 on April 27, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    no doubt shakib is a good player..but problem is that there is only 4 place for the foreigners and kkr's foreigners r doing good..But i still think that kallis is not a suitable player in this format.i would like to see andre russel and shakib in place of kallis and morkel

  • Greatest_Game on April 27, 2014, 16:31 GMT

    @ y Ashokdmightyindian writes "@Moinul Hossain Sarker says KKR will lose 160 million BD supporters. lol who cares?"

    I do. It will make reading the posts here a lot easier!

  • Ain_EL_Sabet on April 27, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    I am Bangladeshi and I am surprised to see such selfish comments from BD fans ! To Bd fans , I am a Bd fan and to me Lynn is better t20 batsman than shakib. When ipl moves to india then shakib would be muchmore effective with the ball but for this UAE condition kkr has better balling option than shakib. Even to replace y.pathan for kkr, I would pick ryan tendo over shakib , if tendo flopps then shakib can be considered. I wish kkr picked Anamul Haque instead of shakib becuz he is far better t20 batsman than shakib and his t20 international record is very impressive and even better than some prominent indian batsman.

  • dummy4fb on April 27, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    I think the best line up for kkr 1.Bisla 2.Kallis 3.Gambhir 4.Pandey 5.Lynn/shakib 6.Uthappa 7.Suryakumar Yadav 8.Nrine 9.Morkel 10.Vinay/Umesh 11.Piyush

    Given the form of gambhir and yusuf,it is better to drop yusuf as he is terribly out f form,whereas gmbhir can bat at numbr 3 make sum runs nd bring his cnfidence bak,depending on pitch shakib can bowl

  • remnant on April 27, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    I dont understand why the BD fans keep proposing Shakib all the time when KKR's issues are related to the Indian composition and not the foreign. Shakib can play on slow turning tracks in Kolkota but in terms of explosive batting firepower Lynn has shown what he is capable of. and in a team short of any batters and with two walking wickets, it makes more sense to play Lynn ahead of Shakib. Only on slow tracks can he replace Morne or Lynn, else no place in terms of foreign players. Shakib's batting so far has been like those of the Indian local players with hardly any stand out performance, that one has come to expect from foreign players. 40 ball 80 like innings. Pls dont push his case so much that u appear ignorant w/o perspective. This is not intended as a negative criticism btw.

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