KKR storm into final with convincing 28-run win over KXIP

No one, not even the die hard fans of Kings XI Punjab expected the team to capitulate so meekly at the Eden Gardens. Looking for a place in their maiden final, the Kings had a tough but not insurmountable total of 164 to overcome.

But KKR’s bowlers rose to the occasion on Wednesday to restrict the famous KXIP batsmen to 135 for eight, win by 28 runs and make it to the IPL-7 final.

Leading the pack of four outstanding bowlers was Umesh Yadav. He not only gave away a measly 13 runs for three vital wickets but held on to two good catches to bag the man-of-the-match award of the Qualifier 1.

Praise is also due to KKR captain Gautam Gambhir for marshalling his bowling resources exceptionally well to guide the team to an eighth consecutive victory.

After the early departure of Virender Sehwag, the two talented youngsters Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha produced some fine strokes. It was Morne Morkel, who generally clocked 140 plus, who removed the duo.

Huge setback

The quick dismissals of KXIP’s most dangerous batsmen — Glenn Maxwell and David Miller — was a huge setback. Captain George Bailey was the lone lower-middle order batsman to strive hard with a 17-ball 26 but when he left in the final over it was all over for KXIP.

Earlier after being put in to bat on a slow pitch, KKR found the going tough against KXIP’s pacers and lost Gambhir in the second over.

The host’s first boundary came only in the third over when in-form Uthappa flicked left-armer Akshar Patel. The first six came off Johnson when Uthappa hooked him in the next over.

Manish Pandey and Uthappa played sensible cricket to put on a valuable 67 runs for the second wicket in seven overs. Uthappa played with confidence and panache to pick boundaries at will.

Then disaster struck as Akshar, who bowled brilliantly making full use of the conditions, first sent back Uthappa for a well made 42 and then three balls later bowled Pandey.

Uthappa took his runs total of 655 that enabled him to break the record of the highest total by an Indian.

Virat Kohli held the previous record of 634. It was also Uthappa’s 10th innings of 40 runs and above.

Punjab bowlers strike

Two new batsmen Shakib Al Hasan and Yasuf Pathan were called upon to not only rescue the innings but accelerate the scoring in the middle overs. Both looked to have settled down to play longer innings when the Punjab bowlers hit back.

Young leg-spinner Karanveer Singh first removed Shakib (18) when the left-hander tried to slog him and a ball later Pathan (20) fell in similar fashion to the same combination of Miller-Karanveer.

At this juncture rain stopped play for 25 minutes with KKR at 113 for five.

When play resumed, Ryan ten Doeschte and Suryakumar Yadav made the most of the opportunities to rattle up 37 runs for the sixth wicket and take the score to 145 before another collapse saw the team being reduced to 147 for five.

Piyush Chawla used the long handle to score 17 off nine balls to give his team a fighting total of 163 for eight.

As KKR finished the final match of the season at home with a deserving victory, the team did a lap of honour with co-owner Shah Rukh Khan also joining in.

Scoreboard

Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa c Miller b Akshar 42 (30b, 4x4, 2x6), Gautam Gambhir c Bailey b Johnson 1 (3b), Manish Pandey b Akshar 21 (20b, 3x4), Shakib Al Hasan c Miller b Karanveer 18 (16b, 2x4), Yusuf Pathan c Miller b Karanveer 20 (18b, 2x4, 1x6), Ryan ten Doeschate c Vohra b Johnson 17 (10b, 2x6), Suryakumar Yadav b Karanveer 20 (14b, 3x4, 1x6), Piyush Chawla (not out) 17 (9b, 3x4), Sunil Narine (run out) 0 (0b), Morne Morkel (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-4, w-3): 7; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 163.

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Gambhir), 2-67 (Uthappa), 3-67 (Pandey), 4-108 (Shakib), 5-108 (Yusuf), 6-145 (Suryakumar), 7-147 (ten Doeschate), 8-159 (Narine).

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Parvinder Awana 4-0-33-0, Mitchell Johnson 4-0-31-2, Akshar Patel 4-1-11-2, Rishi Dhawan 4-0-44-0, Karanveer Singh 4-0-40-3.

Kings XI Punjab: Virender Sehwag c Shakib b Umesh 2 (3b), Manan Vohra c Umesh b Morkel 26 (19b, 3x6), Wriddhiman Saha c Umesh b Morkel 35 (31b, 2x4, 2x6), Glenn Maxwell lbw b Umesh 6 (9b, 1x4), David Miller b Chawla 8 (12b), Akshar Patel run out 2 (2b), George Bailey c Pandey b Umesh 26 (17b, 1x4 2x6), Rishi Dhawan st. Uthappa b Shakib 14 (15b, 1x6), Mitchell Johnson (not out) 10 (11b, 1x6), Karanveer Singh (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-3, w-2): 5; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 135.

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Sehwag), 2-45 (Vohra), 3-55 (Maxwell), 4-80 (Saha), 5-82 (Miller), 6-87 (Akshar), 7-117 (Dhawan), 8-134 (Bailey).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Morne Morkel 4-0-23-2, Umesh Yadav 4-0-13-3, Sunil Narine 4-0-30-0, Shakib Al Hasan 4-0-43-1, Piyush Chawla 4-0-23-1.

Man-of-the-match: Umesh Yadav.

KKR won by 28 runs.