Kings XI v Knight Riders, IPL, Qualifier 1, Kolkata May 28, 2014

Knight Riders through to final after Kings XI unravel


Kolkata Knight Riders 163 for 8 (Uthappa 42, Karanveer 3-40) beat Kings XI Punjab 135 for 8 (Saha 35, Umesh 3-13) by 28 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Kolkata Knight Riders eased into the IPL final with their eighth-successive win, beating a listless Kings XI Punjab at Eden Gardens. Robin Uthappa prolonged a stellar season and took the record for the most runs scored by an Indian batsman in an IPL season. Gautam Gambhir, though scratchy with the bat, had helmed an impressive turnaround by Kolkata Knight Riders. The satisfaction of making the final was sweetened all the more when both players returned into national reckoning. Uthappa found a place for the ODI tour of Bangladesh and Gambhir could contemplate a Test comeback in England.

Rain tends to favour chasing teams, if it's impact is expected. On Wednesday, sunny skies welcomed Kings XI and Knight Riders but as the evening waned, the weather soured. Kings XI would not have been flustered by a target of 164, but the advent of a non-stop drizzle in the third over meant they had to tackle one of the wilier bowling attacks with the prospect of the match being curtailed at any given moment. Having fallen behind the Duckworth-Lewis equation, one of the most assured batting line-ups suddenly looked out of their depth, but they have another crack on Friday when they meet the winner of the eliminator.

The jitters began when Manan Vohra, empowered by a few solid hits, miscued to long-on. His 26 off 19 had originally put Kings XI ahead on the rain rule but now they were four runs behind par. Glenn Maxwell's attempts to dance around the crease to upset the bowler's rhythm backfired when he was found plumb in front. Kings XI were 11 behind and the downward spiral steepened.

Umesh Yadav was not among those bound for England in July. His chosen way to vent was an opening spell of 2 for 12 in three overs. As rain persisted, the batsmen were uncertain regarding the length of the match and the approach they should employ. If they took undue risks and the game ended up lasting the 20 overs, they could end up without enough batsmen. If they didn't press on, Knight Riders would clinch the game with ease.

Wriddhiman Saha and David Miller flailed at the crease, attempting to hit on the up and hack across the line, and by the time their struggle came to an end their side was more than 20 runs behind the Duckworth-Lewis equation.

With the umpires doing their best to ensure a full game - at one point they waved the invading groundsmen off the field to ensure five overs of the chase were completed - the Knight Riders spinners continued the strangle. Shakib Al Hasan and Piyush Chawla grabbed a wicket each, while conceding only 11 runs in three overs, as Kings XI meandered to 97 for 6 in after 16 overs. George Bailey attempted a counterattack, but Sunil Narine kept the penultimate over to four runs to all but seal the result.

Spin had played a prominent part in the first innings as well. Akshar Patel snared the in-form Robin Uthappa and a struggling Manish Pandey in the same over. Karanveer Singh furthered his stocks with three wickets. However, in between their strikes Knight Riders had benefited from important cameos to secure a formidable total.

Uthappa was at his fluent best again, depositing Mitchell Johnson and Parvinder Awana into the crowd with authoritative pulls. Having showcased his skills off the back foot, he drilled some eye-catching drives both through and over the off side field to fuel his 10th 40-plus score on the trot. His exit however seemed to drain Knight Riders' momentum until Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan contributed 41 off 33 balls in the push towards the death overs.

Both batsmen fell just before a 20-minute break for rain, but Chawla, Suryakumar Yadav and Ryan ten Doeschate managed 49 runs in the final four overs to provide more than enough cushion for their bowling attack.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    I'm a KKR fan but I want CSK in the final. A win in the final against the 2nd best of the IPL would mean something....

  • R on May 29, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    SAM6E... I hope you realize that one cannot build a bowling attack reading Narine, Malinga, Gul, Ajmal and Steyn in IPL... There is no doubt that KKR has the best bowling attack!!!

    Coming to the more important issue... It was a great win. Gauti did a wonderful job... It's not easy defending when you have to keep one eye on the D/L sheet!!!

  • Clifford on May 29, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    That KKR bowling lineup is like Hydra: you cut one head off and two more grow back. Uthappa certainly deserves a white ball international run this summer but Gambhir on the test team might be a bit of a stretch. I suppose they're consider Gambhir over Shikhar Dhawan?

  • Rupak on May 29, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    People keep saying D/L is tough for batman only! Did they forget that it's also tough for bowling team. The bowl was wet!! It's tough for bowlers to grip the bowl. There are both pros and cons. And while Vohra and Sahs were playing they were ahead/inline with the runs required. So, it wasn't the rain that played spoil sport.

  • Rupak on May 29, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    sam6e Calm down, you are trying too hard to find faults in KKR. Team doesn't win 8 matches in a row without doing something right. Don't forget no team has ever made more than 170 in 15 games played this IPL. This has to be a good bowling performance.

  • Mohammed on May 29, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    ATTN KKR: One thing that must be looked at is the fall of wickets in clusters. They should ensure that this type of mini collapses do not happen be it a maiden wicket but losing two in quick successions in this format can have a formidable impact. I hope GG looks into this and advises his players to just assess the situation whenever a wicket falls. Yusuf pathan and Manish were out to some casual shots which could have been avoided. Especially so since they lost another set batsman at the other end. Thankfully losing those two did not deter from reaching a decent total which I feel was very gettable but some good bowling at the start and middle arrested KXIP development. I cannot stress more the importance of a set player staying till the end and seeing the side through whether chasing or setting a target, hope they go on to win it I feel they have done the hard work to deserve it.

  • Maurice on May 29, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Kings XI lost it 3 games before by resting inform batters Miller and Maxwell for no reason, which has put them off their rythem and hence their failing after coming into the team. The same thing happened to RR by changing their team for no rhyme or reason. The management is to blame. further Maxwell was deprived of the Orange Cap with his being left out. A fast bowler who is injury prone OK, but a batter in spanking form being rested, surely

  • Android on May 29, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    well that was a once off affair for kings11 ......but against csk it will be a nice form enhancer......

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    I as a KKR fan would like to face KXIP again in the final, easier than CSK.

  • Mahafuz on May 29, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    Yes yes...we KKR are overrated, lucky...well the bottom line is we are through to the punjab fans you guys come to the final and then do the sledging...if rain did anything increased the chances for was clear that our spinners couldn't grip the wet ball....if patel and karenveer can take 5 wickets in that pitch....with a dry ball our spinners would have taken 10 wickets and punjub would struggled to get 100...punjab didn't score 150 against us in previous two games, what makes them think that can chase 163 in our home ground...and ofcourse we prefer punjab in the final than CSK...CSK is a champion team and the most consistent team

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