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Gambhir, Narine crush Punjab with commanding display

Gautam Gambhir pumps his fist after Manish Pandey struck the winning runs against Punjab BCCI

Kolkata's captain, Gautam Gambhir, and stand-in opener Sunil Narine - with a 76 run opening stand comprehensively gunned down an inform Punjab unit by eight wickets, with 21 balls to spare, in the Indian Twenty20 competition at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.

Kolkata's bowlers, Umesh Yadav in particular with a four-wicket display, made the job of their batting unit easier by restricting Punjab to a meager 170. With regular opener, Chris Lynn, out due to injury, Kolkata promoted Narine up the order. The move paid rich dividends as Narine made the most of the opportunity by thumping three sixes and four fours in his 18-ball 37. Punjab's captain, Glenn Maxwell, shuffled his bowlers regularly to find a breakthrough but Gambhir and Narine dominated both seamers and spinners alike. Sandeep Sharma, in the third over, was clubbed for a six and two fours and then Maxwell was torn apart with four fours in the fifth over.

Kolkata's openers had set the tempo for the chase by amassing 60 in the first five overs. Narine smashed Varun Aaron for two sixes and a four in the sixth over before he departed, Gambhir remained unbeaten with a 49-ball 72. Gambhir and Narine had scored at 13.41 runs in the 5.4 overs they batted together and their partnership helped Kolkata complete a comprehensive win. It was the eighth win by a chasing side in 11 games this season.