Indore: Kolkata Knight Riders beat Kings XI Punjab by 31 runs and retain top four spot at the Holkar Stadium here on Saturday.
Chasing 246, KXIP had their moments courtesy KL Rahul (66), and starts from Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch. The openers commenced the chase in style.
While Gayle took on West Indian mates, Andre Russell and debutant Javon Searles, Rahul was hitting the ball as clearly as ever. His timing has been spot on this season, and continued in similar fashion. Rahul attacked Prashid Krishna, and tore apart Sunil Narine.
However, Rahul lost partners before eventually falling to Narine. Russell changed the complexion of the chase with twin strikes in the 6th over. He dared to bowl the short ball, after being hammered by Gayle, and got rid of both him and Mayank Agarwal (for a golden duck)in successive deliveries.
Rahul was aware of that he cannot hold back in a humongous chase, and continued to be aggressive.
However, Narine decided to bowl round the stumps, and used his carrom-ball to dismiss Rahul. The opener went for a slog sweep, got an inside-edge onto the front thigh and the ball hit the timber. Rahul, the new Orange Cap holder, went back to the hut, and diminished KIXP’s chances going ahead.
Akshar Patel and Aaron Finch got some freebies of Kuldeep Yadav and Searles. The KKR duo, however, had the last laugh; dismissing Patel and Finch respectively.
Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin and Andrew Tye did their best to push the score beyond 200, and maintain a healthy net run-rate. In the end, they were restricted for 214 for 8.
KKR, after a 102-run defeat, have secured a handy win in the business end of the tournament. They are now tied with KXIP at 12 points. On the other hand, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are breathing down their neck (10 points each).
Ealier, a 23-ball 50 from skipper Dinesh Karthik coupled with Sunil Narine's 36-ball 75 helped KKR pile up 245/6.
Narine set the stage for a big score, his whirlwind innings studded with nine fours and four sixes.
Narine was involved in a 75-run stand for the second wicket with Robin Uthappa (24) while Karthik, who hit five boundaries and three sixes, joined hands with Andre Russell (31; 14b) for a 76-run fourth wicket partnership off just 31 balls.
KKR never let their foot off the gas and scored 139 runs in the last 10 overs.
In the final over, 17 runs came off Barinder Sran (1-48) as Shubman Gill remained unbeaten on 16 off 8 balls alongwith Javon Searles (6), making his IPL debut.
For the hosts, purple cap holder Australian pacer Andrew Tye (4/41) was by far the pick of the bowlers.
KKR were given a good start by opener Chris Lynn and Narine with the visitors racing to 59/1 after six overs.