Kolkata: For cricket lovers, Sunday couldn’t have been any better after two cracking games saw the Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders pick up scintillating wins against the Gujarat Lions and the Royal Challengers Bangalore respectively.
In the first match of the day at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Punjab rode on a solid 65 from Hashim Amla and notable contributions from skipper Glenn Maxwell(31) Axar Patel (34)Shaun Marsh(30) to put 188 runs on the board.
In reply, Gujarat Lions, who hammered the Kolkata Knight Riders in their last game, lost Brendon McCullum quite early and despite a fighting innings by Dinesh Karthik ( 58*) and a breezy 32 from skipper Suresh Raina, the home side lost the match by 26 runs, thereby slumping to the second last position in the table. Axar Patel and KC Cariappa were the most successful bowlers for Punjab snaring two wickets each.
The next match of the day was one heck of a thriller as the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers fought back hard and secured a near impossible victory against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens.
Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy was absolutely exemplary and prolific at the same time as he regulated his fast bowlers very intelligently to wrap the Bangalore innings for just a meagre 49 runs, after the KKR batting faltered having scored just 131 runs despite having got off to a flying start.
Batting first, Kolkata Knight Riders could only muster 131 runs in 19.3 overs despite having got to a brilliant start, courtesy their new-found opening talent Sunil Narine’s quickfire 34 of just 17 balls.
The time when all believed that it was the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s game from here on, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir had some different plans in mind as he attacked right from the word go, having set a test match like field with a short leg in place right from the first over.
He handed the ball to his premier fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, who didn’t disappoint and sent back star batsman Virat Kohli in the hut for a duck. And from then on, the RCB batting looked like a pack of cards as some steamy deliveries from pacers Umesh Yadav ( 1/15), Chris Woakes (3/6) and Colin De Grandhomme (3/4) shot out to the Bangalore side for just 49 runs- their as well as the lowest total in the IPL so far.
It was indeed shocking to see a batting unit comprising of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Chris Gayle failing to score even 50 runs as RCB faced one of the most humiliating defeats in the competition.
However, no credit should be taken away from the men in purple who were absolutely ruthless with the ball and electric in the field as Kolkata won by a huge 82 runs which further cemented their stay at the second position in the league table. Bangalore’s woes continue this season as the finalists of last year are now at the last position in the table.
If anyone had seen the match between the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede Stadium two days back, they would be able to relate this match as it was an exact action replay and a further light on the fact that consistent good bowling can win games, regardless of the format.
Kings XI Punjab 188/7 (Hashim Amla 65, Axar Patel 34 ; Andrew Tye 2/34) beat Gujarat Lions 162/7 (Dinesh Karthik 58*, Suresh Raina 32 ; KC Cariappa 2/24) by 24 runs
Kolkata Knight Riders 131 all out in 19.3 overs (Sunil Narine 34, Chris Woakes 18 ; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/16) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 49 all out in 9.4 overs (Kedar Jadav 9, AB De Villiers 8 ; Colin De Grandhomme 3/4, Chris Woakes 3/6) by 82 runs.