Having won their first match against Gujarat Lions, Knight Riders made the best possible start to the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. However, they faced defeat in their second match against Mumbai Indians. After the initial blitz by Kings XI Punjab’s opening batsmen in Hashim Amla and Manan Vohra, spinners brought back KKR back into the game.
Piyush Chawla dismissed Vohra on his first delivery albeit he came under the radar of Glenn Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha later on. Sunil Narine registered figures of 4-0-19-1, restricting the flow of runs from his end. Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers for his spell of 4-33.
In the absence of Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa was expected to start the chase of 171 alongside his captain, Gautam Gambhir. After the masterstroke of ‘Chris Lynn – The Opener’, today was the turn of ‘Sunil Narine – The Opener.’ Narine scored a slam-bang 18-ball 37 which comprised of four boundaries and three sixes. He did not let the scoreboard pressure to come on the mind of his skipper.
On the other hand, Gambhir was his usual self. Controlled aggression and calculative risks are part of his DNA. He was always a special player in the IPL but Kolkata Knight Riders has brought out the best out of him. Gambhir scored his 33rd half-century in the IPL, joint-highest with David Warner. He remained not out till the end, scoring 72* off 49 balls with the help of 11 boundaries. Gambhir now has 28 half-centuries in the IPL as captain – most by any captain.
He was supported well by Robin Uthappa 26 and Manish Pandey 25*. The duo from Karnataka came in and scored freely, resultant of which Knight Riders chased down 171 in 16.3 overs.