For the record, Kings XI Punjab has now lost six consecutive games to the Kolkata Knight Riders. It was a pretty plain story in Mohali today. Before this game, IPL 2016 has been the series of chasing. 11 out of the 12 games played have been won by the sides chasing. That could be the only reason why KKR chose to bowl first on such a slow wicket. Both teams, coming victorious in their last games, played unchanged teams.
Punjab openers Murli Vijay and Manan Vohra were expected to fire, like they did in the last game. Vijay started well but Vohra disappointed, falling to Morne Morkel off just 8 runs in the 4th over.
There was no help at all for the faster bowlers, even with the new ball, hence Gambhir decided to bring on the spinner Shakib in the 3rd over of the match. He bowled a tight line and was difficult to score off, like the other spinners Sunil Narine, Yousuf Pathan and Piyush Chawla as well. Overall the spinners bowled 12 overs at a run a ball and sharing 4 wickets amongst them. No Punjab batsman, barring Shaun Marsh, could set himself in and finally they closed at 138 for 8. A batting order that consists of players like David Miller and Glen Maxwell should be able to score more, much more.
Shaun Marsh top scored for the home team with an unbeaten 56 off 41 deliveries. A target of 139 did not look challenging for the in form KKR Batsmen.
The ever so consistent, Gambhir-Uthappa partnership flourished yet again with the duo adding 82 runs for the 1st wicket inside of 9 overs, making the match a mere cake walk for them. Uthappa in particular was in blistering form as he smashed a fiery 53 off just 28 balls.
There were a couple of stutters with the wickets of Gambhir, Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hasan in quick succession, but the target never looked menacing enough.
SK Yadav and Yousuf Pathan finished off the match with 2.5 overs to spare.
Along with boost to the net run rate, this win takes KKR to the top of the point table with 6 points from 4 matches.
A clinical performance with the bat and the ball again for the KKR is making them look a very strong contender. While KXIP struggle with the form of their main batsmen, the bowlers have looked good in patches. They would hope for the batters to start firing, to make some results for the team now.