MOHALI – Kings XI Punjab revived their Indian Premier League fortunes with a narrow four-run victory over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders at the PCA Stadium in Mohali today.
And all this despite a sensational hat-trick from Knight Riders’ West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine.
All-rounder Manpreet Gony was in inspired form for the home side, hitting an impressive 42 runs from just 18 deliveries to help Kings XI reach a total of 157 for 9 from their 20 overs.
The Knight Riders looked comfortably on course to reach their target in reply thanks to a third consecutive half-century from skipper Gautam Gambhir (60).
But the Kings XI bowlers fought back, reducing Kolkata from 116-3 to 153 for 9 to prevail by four runs and climb above their opponents into fifth spot.After being asked to bat first, Kings XI opener Mandeep Singh hit six boundaries during his 30-ball innings of 41, compiling a steady 37-run partnership with Manan Vohra after the early departure of Adam Gilchrist for seven.†Narine then took centre stage with a 15th over hat-trick to swing the game in Kolkata’s favour. Dave Hussey, Azhar Mahmood and Gurkeerat Singh all departing in the blink of an eye to Narine’s guile.
But Gony revived the innings for Kings XI, attacking Narine to good effect in his final over where he cleared the rope three times to see the home side past 150.
Kolkata skipper Gambhir then came out and smacked 60 from 39 in the reply before being caught behind by Gilchrist, while England’s Eoin Morgan (47) maintained his fine form before his leading edge looped up invitingly for Hussey at point.
The departure of Morgan triggered a mid-order collapse from Kolkata and it was then left to Praveen Kumar to hold his nerve when bowling out the final over. (Sky)††