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The Kolkata Knight Riders put a couple of disheartening losses behind them in fine style by comprehensively beating the Kings XI Punjab by 8 wickets in Mohali to gain instant revenge on their defeat by the same side just a few days. Punjab never really got going on a wonderful batting wicket and despite a couple of decent knocks by Adam Gilchrist (40*) and Shaun Marsh (33), could only manage 124/7 which proved to be well below par for the surface. The Kolkata Knight Riders romped home with ease, finishing off the match with 21 balls to spare thanks to a fluent and classy 66* from skipper Gautam Gambhir.
The Kings XI Punjab, after registering a surprise win over tonight's opponents Kolkata Knight Riders away in Kolkata in their previous game, were keen to repeat the feat in this game too in more conducive conditions at home in Mohali on Wednesday night. The Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist, just as in the previous match, won the toss and chose to bat again. Punjab played the extra batsman in this fixture with Bipul Sharma making way for opener Paul Valthaty. KKR too as expected made a few changes with Shakib Al Hasan and Ryan ten Doeschate making way for Brendon McCullum and Brett Lee, while Laxmipathy Balaji returned from injury to replace Jaydev Unadkat.
The Kings XI Punjab opened with their regular pair of Adam Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty in this game and got off to a decent start. Gilchrist in particular looked to have rediscovered his touch, playing the cut and pull with ease and found some long awaited runs. The duo added 24 in 3 overs, before their charge was halted by the former 'Punjabi' Brett Lee who dismissed Valthaty (8) caught behind. Gilly though continued playing some fantastic shots on what seemed like a great batting wicket and raced away to 28* off just 23 balls before he pulled his hamstring after completing a quick single and left the park, much to the disappointment of his fans and family seated in stands. After six overs Punjab were reasonably placed at 45/1 with Shaun Marsh and Mandeep Singh at the crease.
After Gilly's unfortunate exit, Mandeep Singh and Shaun Marsh put on just 18 for the 2nd wicket before Mandeep (6) succumbed to the pressure built from Laxmipathy Balaji who induced a false stroke and had him caught at third man. That wicket brought another Aussie, David Hussey to the crease, who didn't look particularly fluent at the start. The pair of Marsh and Hussey were restricted brilliantly by some accurate bowling from Balaji and Bhatia as a result of which they just managed to add 24 runs for the third wicket in over 4 overs before Marsh chased a wide delivery from Lee and was caught behind for 33. After 14 overs, Punjab were in a spot of bother at 86/3.
Punjab lost David Hussey(10) once again through a poor piece of running in the very next over to leave the team in distress. Dimitri Mascarenhas went for 9 a couple of overs later holing out at long off. One wicket led to another as Paras Dogra too departed soon, caught at deep square leg off Sunil Narine. Amidst all the carnage skipper Adam Gilchrist made a bold move and walked out to bat to give his side something to bowl at. He did hit one six for all the pain and made 40* off 30 balls to help his team reach a below par 124/7.
The Kolkata Knight Riders opened with skipper Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum for this game and the move paid dividends straight away. McCullum attacked in the first couple of overs and gave Kolkata important momentum at the start before going into his shell later. Gautam Gambhir though looked in awesome touch right from the start and played some glorious shots. Gambhir scored at the rate of knots at a strike rate of over 200. The pair put on 53 brisk runs to set the team on its way before McCullum (15) was dismissed after pulling a rank long hop from Piyush Chawla straight to short fine leg. Manvinder Bisla walked in at No.3 and looked very uncertain in his innings of 11 before he dragged one onto his stumps off Chawla. After 10 overs KKR were still comfortable placed on 75/2 with Gambhir looking good.
That wicket in the 10th over was about all the joy the home side got in the match as Gautam Gambhir continued to pile on the runs and was joined by the vastly experienced Jacques Kallis, who made little work of the remaining runs. Gambhir struck some fine boundaries with some wonderful use of his feet on his way to a captains knock of 66* while Kallis enjoyed the ball coming on to the match and helped himself to 30* without breaking a sweat to finish the match for the Knight Riders. KKR reached the total with consummate ease, with 21 balls to spare and took home a valuable victory which they hope could set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
The Knight Riders will be relieved at having gotten back to winning ways and will desperately want to capitalise on this momentum when the face the basement dwelling Deccan Chargers in Cuttack next on 22nd April. Kings XI will hope to turn things around quickly when they face another powerpacked RCB side at Mohali on the 20th.
Punjab: P Valthaty, A Gilchrist, P Dogra, S Marsh, D Hussey, M Singh, H Singh, P Chawla, D Mascarenhas, B Bhatt, P Kumar
Kolkata: J Kallis, G Gambhir, B McCullum, M Bisla, M Tiwary, Y Pathan, D Das, B Lee, R Bhatia, S Narine, L Balaji
Kings XI Punjab 124/7(20 overs, 6.2 runs per over)
A Gilchrist 40*(30) S Narine 2/24
S Marsh 33(30) B Lee 2/26
Kolkata Knight Riders 127/2 (16.3 overs, 7.9 runs per over)
G Gambhir 66*(44) P Chawla 2/19
J Kallis 30*(23)
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- 19/04/2012 15:10 - IPL Match 23: Pietersen ton powers Delhi Daredevils to incredible win