Home delight for Kolkata as Knight Riders rule over Kings XI Punjab to reach final
Kolkata 163-8 (20 ov)
Punjab 135-8 (20 ov)
Toss: Punjab, chose to field
Kolkata: Uthappa 42; Karanveer 3-40, Akshar 2-11, Johnson 2-31
Punjab: Saha 35; Umesh 3-13, Morkel 2-23
Man of the match: Umesh Yadav (Kolkata)
Kolkata Knight Riders, the form team with seven straight wins coming into the play-offs, followed up a patchy batting display with an impressive bowling one to become the first team to seal a place in the June 1 final.
Defending a score of 163, their quintet of bowlers all delivered in front of a voluble crowd that roared their heroes to a 28-run victory over Kings XI Punjab. Robin Uthappa’s 30-ball 42 had been the batting highlight. Umesh Yadav, bowling with genuine pace and real accuracy, provided the bowling one, dismissing Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey on his way to outstanding figures of 3-13.
Punjab’s pursuit of more than eight an over to win did not start well, as Sehwag cut Yadav straight to Shakib Al Hasan. Wriddhiman Saha, the local boy, came in at No 3 and essayed a lovely flick for six off Morne Morkel, but with the rain threatening to bucket down, Punjab were well behind the asking rate.
Cue Manan Vohra, who struck back-to-back leg-side sixes off Shakib and then clouted Morkel down the ground for another. Unfortunately for him, the attempted encore only ended up in Yadav’s hands at deep mid-on.
That 40-run partnership off 28 balls was as good as it got for the table-toppers. Maxwell’s Big Show had not been playing for a few games, and despite a nonchalant sweep for four off Sunil Narine, he was a wane shadow of the batsman who had done as he pleased in the UAE. After two swipes at Yadav, he shuffled across to be trapped in front.
At the half-way stage, Punjab needed another 96. Saha swiped a mighty six off Piyush Chawla, but with David Miller struggling for fluency at the other end, the asking rate kept mounting. In his final over, Morkel exacerbated Punjab’s woes, as Saha toe-ended one to mid-off.
In the next over, the game was as good as gone. Chawla came round the wicket, Miller shaped to cut, and played all over a leg-break that skidded on. Not long after, Chawla was centre of attention again, as his throw from short fine leg caught Akshar Patel short of his crease.
Kolkata had started poorly, losing Gautam Gambhir very early. But Uthappa, once again, ensured that Punjab would not wrest the early momentum. His partnership with Manish Pandey, another Karnataka boy far from home, was worth 65 from just 41 balls when he played an almost casual loft to long-off off Akshar.
Both left in the space of three balls, while Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan could convert cameos into anything of substance. Karanveer Singh got them both caught in the deep off consecutive deliveries, and when the rain came down to interrupt proceedings for 25 minutes, the innings was listing at 113 for five.
Suryakumar Yadav cleaved three fours and a six, while Ryan ten Doeschate struck two monstrous sixes off Karanveer as Kolkata finished with a flourish at 163 for eight.
Seven Kolkata batsmen went past 15, but only Uthappa made more than 21. On another day, it might have cost them.
Instead, it is Punjab that must dust themselves off after a batting debacle. Their chance at redemption will be in Mumbai on June 30, against the winner of the Chennai Super Kings-Mumbai Indians Eliminator.
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Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM