Kolkata Knight Riders posted their highest total in IPL history as they collected 245-6 in Indore. Sunil Narine top-scored with a 36-ball 75 while the entire Kolkata top-order chipped in with handy runs to take the Punjab bowling apart.
In reply, Punjab flexed their own batting muscles as they collected 214-8 with opener KL Rahul (66) once again the top-scorer. All-rounder Andre Russell was the wrecker in chief as he finished with 3-41.
It was a match dominated by big bats as Kolkata hit 15 sixes while Punjab went one step further with 16 of them.
NO STOPPING NARINE
It took 10 years for Kolkata Knight Riders to surpass their total of 222/3 in the first ever IPL match.— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) May 12, 2018
However, no KKR player has scored a century after Brendon McCullum's 158* in that game. #IPL2018 #KXIPvKKR
Kolkata Knight Riders have gone back to the tried and tested Sunil Narine at the top of the order after pushing him down the order midway in IPL 2018. A docile Indore track and a Punjab attack lacking severely in the pace department was never going to trouble the West Indian.
Narine not only hit a 36-ball 75 that included nine fours and four sixes, he caused actual damage to the Punjab line-up when he drove ace spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman straight back to the bowler in the fourth over. The ball hit the young Afghan on his bowling hand and forced the spinner out of the attack.
By the time Mujeeb returned to the field, Kolkata had amassed 169 for three in 15 overs and the onslaught was well and truly on.
NO CENTURY, NO PROBLEM
Kolkata’s previous highest total was 222-3 in the first ever IPL game – against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Then, a certain Brendon McCullum had smashed a then record 158 not out. However since then, not a single Kolkata batsman has hit an IPL century.
On Saturday, the Knight Riders easily surpassed their previous highest total in IPL despite Narine’s 75 being the highest score. There was key contributions from the entire Knight Riders top order, with captain Dinesh Karthik hitting a 23-ball 50 and Andre Russell smoking 31 from 14.
HOW FLAT IS TOO FLAT?
In all, Kolkata hit 15 sixes in their innings. The boundary was barely 70 metres all around and allowed even top edges and mistimed sweeps to go beyond the boundary.
When the batsmen did connect, the ball went well into the stands. In fact, a shot by opener Chris Lynn off seamer Barinder Sran in the fifth over and by Russell off Axar Patel in 15th over landed outside the ground. Who would want to be a bowler?
NOT ALL ABOUT RAHUL
Opposition now believe that Kings XI batting starts and ends with KL Rahul. Yes, Chris Gayle is an ever-present threat but Rahul is the key. Kolkata Knight Riders didn’t get flustered as Rahul blazed away to 66 from 29 balls with seven sixes and just two fours.
Narine topped a brilliant day with the critical scalp of Rahul. Bowling the round the stumps, Rahul got into a tangle trying to slog sweep Narine and lost his woodwork.
However, captain Ravi Ashwin refused to throw in the towel. batting at number seven, Ashwin hit 22 from 45 balls to keep the fight going before being hit on the knee in the final over and be adjudged out lbw. Punjab bettered Kolkata’s six tally as they ended on 214-8.
Andre Russell is not a hundred per cent fit. But he showed that even when he is operating at less than optimum level, he is better than the rest. On Saturday, Russell first took full advantage of a short boundary and flat tack to smash a quick-fire 31 before turning up the heat with the ball.
Russell accounted for compatriot Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair in two overs and in the end, it proved to be decisive as Punjab took the game close.
However, there was more injury concerns for Russell as he was seen clutching his hamstring and struggling to even jog on the field.
Kolkata Knight Riders amassed their highest ever score in the IPL as they smashed 245-6 against the Kings XI Punjab in Indore on Saturday.
Sunil Narine lead the way with a brutal 36-ball 75 before key contributions from the entire top order enabled the Knight Riders to reach the imposing total.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel went for 52 runs in his four overs.
In reply, Kings XI Punjab batted valiantly but fell 31 runs short in the end. A 29-ball 66 from KL Rahul and 22-ball 45 from skipper Ravichandran Ashwin helped the hosts amass 214-8 in their chase. Andre Russell picked up three Punjab wickets while going for 41 runs in his four overs.
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According to Sportstar, Kohli opted to miss the team’s training session at Delhi on the eve of the game after feeling unwell. Despite taking ill on Friday, the RCB skipper is unlikely to sit out what is a must-win game for the side. The Delhi-born star will also be eager to put on a show on his return to his hometown.
The Royal Challengers are currently languishing at the seventh position in the league table with just three wins in their 10 matches so far. Their hopes of making the playoffs are hanging by a thread after two consecutive defeats in which the side’s batting has been a major letdown.
Kohli himself has been shouldering the burden of scoring the bulk of the runs for the franchise this season. The skipper is the side’s top-scorer so far with 396 runs in 10 matches.
In case Kohli is deemed unwell to take the field on Saturday, the captaincy will naturally fall to South African stalwart AB de Villiers.
Delhi Daredevils: Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer (c), Glenn Maxwell, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Liam Plunkett, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Trent Boult
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Moeen Ali, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Yuzvendra Chahal