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IPL Match 44: Kolkata Knight Riders edge Kings XI Punjab in thrilling contest

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The reigning Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders took a massive step towards successfully defending their title by beating the league's basement dwellers Kings XI Punjab in a fantastic contest by just the solitary wicket with a ball to spare. The result sees KKR climb to the top of the IPL standings with 15 points from 12 games, a point ahead of both Chennai and Rajasthan with the Super Kings having played a game less.

The Kings XI Punjab won the toss and decided to bat first under the hot Kolkata sun. Glenn Maxwell finally came to the party this summer top scoring for KXIP with 43 from 22 balls as his team posted a very competitive score of 183-5 from their 20 overs.

Kolkata Knight Riders were largely responsible for their own struggles in the field, dropping catches for fun right through the game, even giving India's test opener Murali Vijay (28) three lives before Sunil Narine finally knocked back his leg-stump. Despite Kolkata's poor showing, Narine had his best match in a long-long time, seemingly putting his action-related woes behind him to take 4-19 from his 4 overs.

The rest of the Kolkata bowlers predictably went for plenty as Kings XI's top 5 batsmen all cashed in with David Miller providing a late push for his side making an unbeaten 27 from 11 balls.

Kolkata were given another decent start with the bat by Robin Uthappa (17) and Gautam Gambhir (24), while their no.3 Manish Pandey in particular looked in spectacular touch, racing along to 22 before losing his wicket to Glenn Maxwell.

Surya Kumar Yadav (9) once again struggled in his new role higher up the order, and by the time he was dismissed, Kolkata were a bit behind the asking rate at 83-4.

Yusuf Pathan (29 from 19 balls) and Andre Russell (51 from 21 balls) swung the match completely KKR's way, as the duo hit 7 sixes between them to power Kolkata into a winning position.

Kings XI Punjab though refused to pack their bags and go home, and kept picking up wickets to keep their side in the contest. KKR headed into the last over needing just 8 runs to win, but were down to their last 3 wickets.

Brad Hogg was run out on the second ball of the over to heap more pressure on his side, but Piyush Chawla responded by hitting the next ball for 6 to bring KKR within a run of victory. Chawla though threw his wicket away on the next ball, gloving it to the keeper when it would have been almost assuredly been called a wide had he left it alone.

With 1 run to win from 2 balls with only a wicket in hand, KKR snuck a leg bye on the penultimate delivery of the match, but a direct hit at the non-striker's end would have surely found Sunil Narine short of his crease.

Kolkata will hope to continue their strong finish to the season by nabbing a top 2 berth, and have given themselves an excellent opportunity to do just that by starting what will certainly be a crucial weekend, well. Kings XI Punjab meanwhile will take plenty of positives from this performance, despite the result, and are at least finally playing some better cricket.


Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa (wk), Gautam Gambhir (c), Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Johan Botha, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Brad Hogg, Umesh Yadav

Kings XI Punjab: Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, George Bailey (c), Gurkeerat Singh, Axar Patel, Beuran Hendricks, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma

Mini Scorecard:

Kings XI Punjab 183/5 (20 overs, 9.15rpo)

G Maxwell 43 (22) S Narine 4-19 (4)

M Vohra 39 (34) A Russell 1-50 (4)

Kolkata Knight Riders 184/9 (19.5 overs, rpo)

A Russell 51 (21) G Singh 2-17 (3)

Y Pathan 29 (19) G Maxwell 1-5 (1)

Kolkata Knight Riders win by 1 wicket