Kolkata: Andre Russell returned with a four-wicket haul to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to a seven-run win over Kings XI Punjab and go atop the points table in their return to home in the Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament here on Wednesday night.
Earlier, Russell scored a 10-ball 16 to help KKR total 164 for three in 20 overs.
KKR bowler Andrew Russell celebrates with his teammate Yusuf Pathan while captain Gautam Gambhir looks on after dismissing Kings XI Punjab batsman Marcus Stonis during the IPL 9 match at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
Glenn Maxwell, not quite himself this season, hammered a 42-ball 68 to help take bottom-ranked Kings XI Punjab tantalising close to another big kill in the IPL. Axar Patel, hero of Sunday’s unlikely win over league leaders Gujarat Lions, was stopped short of putting the finishing touches and spoiling Kolkata Knight Riders’ homecoming after more than three weeks on the road. The Knights won by seven wickets to go to the top of the table.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ co-owner Shah Rukh Khan stands besides singer Usha Utthup during his team’s IPL match against Kings XI Punjab at Eden Gardens yesterday. Pic/PTI
Chasing 165, King’s XI Punjab made a disastrous start as the top-order failed to come to terms with a slow wicket. They were reduced to 13 for 3 in the fourth over, the dismissals more their own doing than driven by incisive bowling.
Marcus Stoinis, Manan Vohra and skipper Murali Vijay handed the reins to the Knights and it was left to local lad Wriddhiman Saha and Maxwell to put the boat on an even keel. Saha, almost caught at short-leg off a sweep in Shakib’s first over, dragged Piyush Chawla onto his stumps in the next to end the fledgling fourth-wicket partnership.
But Maxwell, into a groove by then, cut loose. Just when he looked like taking all the King’s men over the line, the Aussie was wrapped in front by a Piyush Chawla googly as he tried to reverse-sweep.
Maxwell had six boundaries and four sixes in his innings. David Miller’s wicket soon after all but quashed King’s XI hopes but new man Axar Patel hit the first two deliveries he faced for sixes, and the visitors were left to score 22 from the last two overs. He sent Morkel’s first ball for a four and the over fetched 10 runs.
Kings XI had gone in with just three foreigners. More importantly, there was a bunch of spinners to make the most a signature Eden track where stroke-making wasn’t easy. Gambhir and Uthappa couldn’t quite change gears despite being involved in their longest and highest partnership of the season.
What turned out to be a 101-run association was broken in the 14th over when Gambhir, backing up too far, failed to regain the crease before Maxwell’s direct hit from extra-cover.
By then, the KKR skipper, leading had scored a 45-ball 54 that had six boundaries and a six.
(With Agency inputs)
Kolkata Knight Riders 164-3 (Robin Uthappa 70, Gautam Gambhir 54; Axar Patel 0-24) beat Kings XI Punjab 157-9 (Glenn Maxwell 68; Andre Russell 4-20) by seven runs