It was a virtual faceoff in the IPL playoff race and Kolkata Knight Riders edged ahead after registering a comfortable win over Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Friday.
Shubman Gill scored an unbeaten fifty as KKR overhauled KXIP’s total of 183-6 with seven wickets and 12 balls in hand.
KKR are now tied with Sunrisers Hyderabad on 12 points but need to win their next game and other results to go their way to qualify. Punjab, however, are most certainly out as they need to beat Chennai by 160 runs and hope Sunrisers lose to RCB by 100 runs.
Warrier strikes early
KKR seamer Sandeep Warrier had a dream opening burst as he accounted for Punjab openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. The seamer first got Rahul with a slower one before snaring Gayle with the go-to ball against him in T20 cricket – short ball.
It was left to the likes of Nicholas Pooran (48), Mayank Agarwal (36) and Mandeep Singh (25) to rebuild the innings. However, the main impetus came right at the end.
Curran tees off
All-rounder Sam Curran is always a reliable bat, even if his seamers might not be so. On Friday, the left-hander showed his full range of strokes as he hit seven fours and two sixes during his 24-ball 55 that took Punjab past 180.
Death overs specialist Harry Gurney bore the brunt of his hitting, getting spanked for three fours and a six off the last four balls of the innings.
Kolkata realistically only needed to negotiate Mohammed Shami and Ravi Ashwin as the rest of the Punjab attack of Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin and Curran isn’t the best going around.
KKR youngster Gill has been enjoying his time at the top of the order and he celebrated with his second successive fifty. His short arm jabs through midwicket and late cuts through point stood out as Gill remained unbeaten on 65 off 49 balls with five fours and two sixes.
The rest of the line-up simply needed to give him company, which they did with Chris Lynn (46), Robin Uthappa (22) and Andre Russell (24) doing enough. Captain Dinesh Karthik finished the game with two overs to spare by hitting a 9-ball 21.
Know more about Sport360 Application