In a rail-curtailed game at the Eden Gardens, King’s XI held the edge powered by another Gayle special, they pipped the Kolkata Knight Riders by 9 wickets. In a run-fest on Saturday, a total of whopping 317 runs were scored inside just 32 overs. Although the lion’s share of runs belonged to the usual suspects from the victorious King’s XI camp- Gayle firing 62 and KL Rahul contributing 60- one man’s effort stood out. Even as it ended up being in a losing cause, his opponents were assisted, arguably by rains.
Chris Lynn in his first major IPL 2018 knock compiled a useful 74 off just 41 balls that propelled the Kolkata Knight Riders to a hefty 191 on a batting-friendly track. Though Chris Lynn took time to settle as he scored only 22 off his first 17 deliveries, he engaged in some serious hitting later in the innings as he reached his fifty in just 30 balls.
At the receiving end were a hapless bunch- Ankit Rajput and surprisingly, even Mujeeb- even as the worst beating was received by Barinder Sran, who conceded 23 off KKR’s 8th over. It seemed, Lynn- 6 fours and 4 sixes- held a cane in hand and not a bat. To him, King’s XI bowlers, despite possessing some useful spinners in Mujeeb and captain Ashwin, were just wasps who had to be swatted aside.
Lynn and Captain Karthick take KKR to respectability
The irregularity of Narine’s pinch-hitting continued as he could only collect 1 and post Uthappa’s dismissal- a turning one for the fortune’s of KKR in the game- at the behest of Ashwin’s brilliantly confusing spin, King’s XI inflicted another blow; this time dismissing their most consistent batsman all summer- Nitish Rana. A rare occurrence in the context of the game came when Rana called for a single that really wasn’t, slicing hard at a flatter one off Ur Rahman and he immediately stormed off sensing a single, only to be turned back by Lynn. Some useful hitting by captain Dinesh Karthik, who chipped in with yet another knock in the 40s took Kolkata to a respectable 191 off 20, with Andrew Tye being the only bowler who made a fight of a contest that by half-way stage seemed to have been swinging KKR’s way.
Gayle and Rahul begin decimation
The real revelation in Saturday’s run-fest however, came when King’s XI’s familiar behemoths responsible for destruction- Chris Gayle and KL Rahul- took to the field challenging 192 for victory. And what followed until 8 overs- before the Eden Gardens became a playground of rains- was sheer mayhem. Rahul and Gayle took on KKR’s bowlers as if they were bounty hunters driven to chase off a goon of the town. The duo struck 8 sixes and 14 boundaries between them and clobbered KKR’s most potent all-rounder Andre Russell and inexperienced pacer Shivam Mavi.
While upon the resumption of the game, curtailed massively by the unwanted interruption, the target revised to 125 eventually off 13, Gayle brought up yet another fifty, finishing on an unbeaten 62. However, the real batting honors for King’s XI belonged to KL Rahul. It seems, given Rahul’s ferocious feasting off-spinners and pacers, in firing 60 off just 27 balls, a giant has awakened in the Bangalorean. Bolstered by Gayle’s mighty form with other dependable batsmen in the ranks- Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair- it will make a world of a difference for Punjab- now table toppers- if they are to proceed to the latter stages of the tournament, something given their form looks highly possible.