In a meeting between the Indian Premier League champions and the winners of Pakistan’s domestic Twenty20 title, the mighty Kolkata Knight Riders let it slice a bit closer than one might think on Sunday night.
But, they still won.
The Knight Riders continued their excellent form, coming off the IPL 7 title, with their second Champions League Twenty20 win in as many group games, beating Lahore Lions by four wickets with three balls remaining in Hyderabad.
Kolkata looked well on their way to an easy chase of 151 after Robin Uthappa (46) and Gautam Gambhir (60) opened on a 100-run partnership before Uthappa was bowled out by Adnan Rasool midway through the 13th over.
Needing only 52 runs from 45 balls at that point, Gambhir was dismissed 12 deliveries later, bowled out by Mustafa Iqbal with the Knight Riders at 113. In the over after that, Manvinder Bisla was caught out by Umar Akmal from an Aizaz Cheema delivery for six and two overs after that Yusuf Pathan joined him in getting caught out from a Cheema ball.
By Pathan’s dismissal, Kolkata had made 35 runs of progress, needing just 17 from the last 16 balls. Ryan ten Doeschate (12) and Suresh Yadav (14) combined for 11 of them for the fifth wicket, leaving them six runs shy with nine balls to go.
And then a hesitant Andre Russell joined Yadav, securing just one run from four deliveries before being caught out by Rasool on an Asif Raza ball. With five balls to go, the Knight Riders needed five runs.
And, though the attack did slow considerably following their opening partnership and they practically crawled to the finish line, Yadav smacked a boundary on the fourth-to-last delivery that put Lahore to bed.
Sunil Narine was typically brilliant in a man-of-the-match performance that surely made all the difference for Kolkata. The West Indies spin master took three wickets – those of Saad Nasim, Umar Siddiq and Raza – for a mere nine runs in four overs, including a maiden over.
Kuldeep Yadav also turned in a nice spell, taking a wicket for only 21 runs. Pat Cummins (1-38) and Piyush Chawla (1-35) were also on strong form as most of the Lions batting order fell cheaply.
Indeed, without the contributions of the excellent Ahmed Shehzad (59) and Umar Akmal (40), Lahore likely never would have had a chance at all. Nasim, Sisddiq and Raza, the trio levelled by Narine, combined for two runs. Mohammad Hafeez (9 from 15 balls) and Nasir Jamshed (10 from 16) meandered through meager totals.
Wahab Riaz, though, chipped in a welcome 14 as the tail-ender from only 12 balls and then took a wicket for 25 runs in four overs, probably Lahore’s best bowling performance.
Rasool, with a wicket for 28 runs in four overs, turned in a decent spell as well. Cheema did take the pair of wickets, but also leaked through 42 runs in four overs.
Kolkata will play their next match against Australia’s Perth Scorchers on Wednesday. Lahore face another IPL opponent, the Chennai Super Kings, in their follow-up match to Sunday’s opening loss on Thursday.
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