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IPL Season 9: Uthappa, Narine send Kolkata Knight Riders top

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A 28-ball innings of 53 from Robin Uthappa sent the Kolkata Knight Riders to the top of the Indian Premier League standings for 48 hours at the very least as they moved ahead of the Gujarat Lions on net run rate, courtesy of their comfortable 6 wicket win over the Kings XI Punjab at Mohali on Tuesday night.

The flip of the coin went KKR's way and predictably they invited their hosts to have a bat first, armed with the knowledge that 11 of the 12 games before tonight had gone of the side chasing.

Kings XI Punjab had another poor outing with the bat with just two of their batsmen getting into double digits. Shaun Marsh coming in at no.3 at the fall of Manan Vohra's wicket, batted till the end, and top scored with an unbeaten 56 from 41 balls. Murali Vijay was the only other Kings XI batsman to make a useful contribution, chipping in with 26 at the top of the order.

Morne Morkel and Sunil Narine chipped in with two wickets apiece, the latter getting the big wicket of Glenn Maxwell (4), going for one of his reverse hits, but only finding the man at cover. David Miller also made just 6, falling to Yusuf Pathan in the part-time off-spinner's only over.

Kings XI finished with a far from competitive total of 138-8, and were quickly put to the sword by Robin Uthappa, who finally seemed to hit top form. The wicket-keeper batsman has been sharing in some useful partnerships with Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order, but has largely been overshadowed by the precision of the little left-hander.

Instead today it was Uthappa's day to shine as he dominated their 82 run partnership for the opening wicket. Both he and Gambhir (34) fell to Pradeep Sahu, but by then the game was already pretty much in the bag for the Knight Riders, with Uthappa having struck 9 glorious boundaries en route to his half-century.

Sahu and Axar Patel pulled things back a bit, picking up a couple of wickets each, but KKR still romped to victory with 17 balls to spare, and truth be told should really have wrapped up the game sooner.

While KKR go top, Kings XI Punjab stay rooted to the bottom, with both sides having played 4 games apiece. Up next for Kings XI is a trip to Hyderabad to take on the Sunrisers on Saturday in the late evening game, while the Knight Riders play on Sunday, also in an 8pm start away to the Rising Pune Supergiants.

Teams:

Kings XI Punjab: Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra, Shaun Marsh, David Miller (c), Glenn Maxwell, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Axar Patel, Kyle Abbott, Mohit Sharma, Pardeep Sahu, Sandeep Sharma

Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa (wk), Gautam Gambhir (c), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav

Mini Scorecard:

Kings XI Punjab 138-8 (20 overs, 6.90rpo)

S Marsh 56* (41) S Narine 2-22 (4)

M Vijay 26 (22) M Morkel 2-27 (4)

Kolkata Knight Riders 141-4 (17.1 overs, 8.21rpo)

R Uthappa 53 (28) P Sahu 2-18 (4)

G Gambhir 34 (34) A Patel 2-19 (3)

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 6 wickets