It was said to be a clash between two power hitters KKR’s Andrew Russell and Kings XI Punjab’s Chris Gayle. And it was the brute force of Russell that won in the end . In a high scoring encounter at Eden Gardens , Kolkata, Kolkata Knight Riders beat Kings XI Punjab by 28 runs. It was KKR’s second win on the trot.
Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss asked KKR to bat first. And his move back-fired as KKR got of to a blazing start . Sunil Narine was in full flow and Chis Lynn ( 10) was playing a second fiddle. Kings spinner Varun Chakravarthy ( Bought for Rs 8. 4 crores at the auction ) was nervy and was smashed for the highest runs in an over – 25. Narine hitting him for three sixes and a four. Narine hit a 9 ball 24 to give KKR the flying start.
Then Nitish Rana blasted a 34 ball 67 with 2 fours and seven sixes. Robin Uthappa too joined the party and smashed a superb 67 off 50 balls and remained unbeaten.
There was drama too Mohamammed Shami bowled Andre Russell with a yorker only to see to his dismay called a no ball. The umpire apparently signalled no ball as the inner circle had three fielders instead of mandatory 4. It was a field placing blunder by kings skipper Ashwin. Already in the eye of a storm following his mankading incident. The Russell recall changed the match completely.
Given second chance, Russell returned with a vengeance and unleashed his brutal power for the second time. He was simply unstoppable . After his 19 ball 49 against SRH, Russell repeated his earlier heroics with yet another power hitting display. He scored a 17 ball 48 with 5 sixes to power KKR to a massive 218/ 4 in their 20 overs.
For Kings it was nightmare with the ball and their figures said it all, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin flopped badly and was very expensive 0/ 47 ( 4 overs). He looked animated and angry too. Mohammed Shami 1/ 44 ( 4 overs) , newcomer Varun Chakravarthy struggled 1/ 35 ( 3 overs), Hardus Viljoen generated pace 1/ 36 ( 4 overs) and Andrew Tye 1/ 37 ( 4 overs).
Chasing a massive total was a tough ask. And the kings never really got going. K L Rahul failed again . Out for 1. Chris Gayle gave some hint but was out for 20. Mayank Agarwal showed his talent and why he is in the Indian Test team. He scored a fine 58. Sarfaraz Khan fell for 13. David Miller ( who spent most of last year on the bench) showed his value hitting a fine unbeaten 59 . Mandeep Singh gave him company and remained unbeaten on 33. The KKR total was simply massive in the end. Kings finished at 190 / 4 in their 20 overs.
Andrew Russell capped a superb all- round performance taking two wickets with the ball too. He too 2/ 21 ( 3 overs). Lockie Ferguson 1/ 42 and Piyush Chawla 1/ 26 ( 3 0vers) were the other wicket- takers for KKR.
King Khan Shah Rukh Khan ( co- owner of KKR) along with actress Juhi Chawla was in the stands to cheer for his side. And the superstar looked pleased with his team’s showing in the first two matches.