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IPL 7: KKR storm into final with convincing win over KXIP

Kolkata Knight Riders came up with an all-round show to romp into the final with a clinical 28-run decimation of Kings XI Punjab in qualifier 1 of the Indian Premier League at Eden Gardens on Wednesday

Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders stormed into the final of the Indian Premier League on the back of a convincing 28-run win over Kings XI Punjab, with pacer Umesh Patel hogging the limelight with a fine display of fast bowling.

Defending 164 on a slow surface that remained under cover for three days, KKR speedsters Yadav (3/13) and Morkel (2/23) shared five wickets between them, while Piyush Chawla also bowled smartly to restrict Kings XI Punjab to 135/8 in 20 overs and hand KKR a record eighth victory on the trot.

KKR celebrate beating KXIP
KKR players celebrate after winning IPL play off match against KXIP in Kolkata on Wednesday. 

Sent into bat, KKR had posted 163 for eight, riding on in-form opener Robin Uthappa's 30-ball 42.

In pursuit of a second title, 2012 champions KKR will take on the winners of second qualifier in the summit clash on June 1.

Orange Cap holder Uthappa once again laid the foundation with the help of four boundaries and two sixes in his 10th consecutive 40-plus score, to push KKR's total in a rain-interrupted match.

With KXIP at 17/1 in 3.2 overs, drizzle had started to fall and they were well behind the Duckworth-Lewis equation of 37 required from five overs. The umpires, though, decided to continue with the proceedings.

Manan Vohra smacked Shakib Al Hasan for two consecutive sixes in the next over to make the equation in KXIP's favour with the scoreboard reading 39/1 from five overs. But KKR bounced back to dismiss Vohra when Morkel had the opener in the next over to make the D-L equation in the home team's favour.

Dangerman Glenn Maxwell (6) did not last long and was trapped by Yadav and KXIP were 55 for three in 7.5 overs, 11 runs behind the par score.

It was Saha, who looked steady in the middle and kept KXIP in the hunt with some stunning strokes, but Morkel ensured that the wicketkeeper-batsman did not prolong his innings.

David Miller was dropped on 1 but he could not make it count and was castled by Piyush Chawla, while Yadav claimed his third victim in the form of the skipper George Bailiey.

Earlier, the spinning duo of Karanveer Singh and Akshar Patel shared five wickets between them to help Kings XI Punjab bounce back, before KKR struck 15 in the last over to prop up the total. 

The Knights rode on the brilliance of top scorer Uthappa (42;30b 4x4 2x6) to post a challenging total with the other batsmen also chipping in with useful contributions.

After losing skipper Gautam Gambhir (1) early on, Uthappa stitched a 65-run partnership with Manish Pandey (21) to build a solid platform. The duo though, departed in the ninth over with the host in a spot of bother with 67/3.

Uthappa who has so far scored 655 runs from 15 outings, has now the highest aggregate by an Indian in an IPL season overcoming Virat Kohli's 634 in 2012.

Shakib (18) and Yusuf Pathan (20) made useful contributions before being dismissed off successive balls.

Resuming the match after a 25-minute stoppage due to rain, the Knights went for the slog hitting some lusty boundaries.

A late charge led by Ryan ten Doeschate (17), Suryakumar Yadav (20) and an unbeaten 9-ball 17 from Piyush Chawla saw KKR reach the challenging score as they plundered 49 runs in the last four overs.

For the visitors, Karanveer (3/40) was the most successful bowler while Patel 2/11 and Mitchell Johnson 2/31 were the other wicket takers.

SRK revels in KKR's win at Eden

Kolkata: The Eden Gardens erupted in celebrations as home team Kolkata Knight Riders steamrolled Kings XI Punjab in the Qualifier 1 match of the seventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) to enter the finals.

Leading from the front, team owner and Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan went for the victory lap with the knights, as fans went wild with slogans of 'SRK SRK", "Shah Rukh, Shah Rukh". 

SRK and Preity ZintaKKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan and KXIP co-owner Preity Zinta greet each other at the end of IPL Qaulafier 1 match at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Wednesday. 

The teammates hugged each other and thumped skipper Gautam Gambhir while a few fans spilled onto the ground.

Numbering in tens of thousands, they roared KKR's anthem 'Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re' as SRK waved to them, and threw kisses. Dressed in a white and purple jersey, the superstar looked exuberant after the powerful performance of his team.

A complete gentleman, SRK hugged actress Preity Zinta, who owns the Punjab side.

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