Sports

KKR beat KXIP to keep playoff hopes alive

Mohali, May 3 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 5/3/2019 11:23:16 AM IST

Shubman Gill hit his 2nd successive fifty in the 2019 Indian Premier League as Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Kings XI Punjab by 7 wickets in Mohali on Friday. Chasing 184, Gill led the charge for KKR but Chris Lynn (46) and Andre Russell (24) also made crucial contributions.

Kolkata Knight Riders now have 12 points from 13 matches and have a very real chance of making it to the playoffs if they beat Mumbai Indians in the last league match of the 2019 Indian Premier League. 

Chris Lynn, who had set the tone for KKR’s 232 with a 29-ball 54 against MI, once again led the charge for his team with a 22-ball 46 against Kings XI Punjab Friday night. His knock was studded with 5 fours and 3 sixes and KKR had raced away to 62 for no loss in 5.5 overs before Andrew Tye removed Lynn off the last ball of the powerplay.

KKR did not look like a happy unit on the field but their batsmen were in a fiery mood. After Chris Lynn’s exit, while Shubman Gill took his time, Robin Uthappa walked out and smashed a 14-ball 22. Andre Russell, the most aggressive batsman in the 2019 Indian Premier League, hit 2 sixes and 2 fours in a 14-ball 24.

Russell’s blitz was ended by Mohammed Shami but by the time Dinesh Karthik joined Shubman Gill in the middle, KKR were on the cusp of victory.

Shubman Gill, many felt, was batting too low down the order. But he has impressed more often than not whenever he got the chance to open alongside Chris Lynn. After his classy 76 against a Mumbai Indians attack which included Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah, Gill turned his attention to KXIP’s star-studded bowling line-up.

Shubman Gill smashed 2 sixes and a 4 off KXIP captain and star India spinner R Ashwin to show his quality. Even as Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell departed, Gill kept his calm and took Kolkata Knight Riders to a memorable home.

Earlier, youngsters Sam Curran and Nicholas Pooran displayed belligerence as Kings XI Punjab put on a respectable 183 for 6.

While West Indies’ Pooran smashed 48 off 27 balls to give the innings initial impetus as he added 69 runs for the third wicket with Mayank Agarwal (36 off 26 balls), Englishman Curran walloped KKR bowlers to smash an unbeaten 55 off 24 balls to take the score past 180-run mark.

For KKR, fast bowler Sandeep Warrier (2/31) was the most impressive as he removed the opening pair of Chris Gayle (14 off 14 balls) and KL Rahul (2 off 7 balls) in quick succession.

However Pooran again showed his big-hitting prowess, hitting four sixes apart from three boundaries as he found an able partner in Agarwal.

Pooran was unlucky to miss out on a fifty as he was holed out in the deep mid-wicket region trying to hit a Nitish Rana half-tracker for six.

Once Agarwal and later Mandeep Singh (25) got out, it seemed that KXIP will have to settle for less than 170 but Curran had other ideas as 32 runs came off the last two overs.

In the 19th over, Curran hit Andre Russell for a couple of boundaries, before launching into countrymate Harry Gurney, hitting him for 22 runs, which included three fours and a big six. In all, Curran hit seven fours and two sixes.

Brief scores

KXIP: 183/6 (Sam Curran 55*, Nicholas Pooran 48; Sandeep Warrier 2/31)

Kolkata Knight Riders: 185/3 (Shubman Gill 65*, Chris Lynn 46; M Shami 1/15)

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