IPL 2018: Kolkata Knight Riders Defeat King XI Punjab

IPL 2018 Playoffs

KKR would be hoping to not only avenge their defeat but also to stay alive in the race of playoffs. The former champions are heading to Indore on the back of a spirit-crushing 102-run defeat at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday, May 9.

Ashwin's contribution of 45 (22) lower down the order proved to be futile as Punjab fell short of the required runs.

KKR too stitched a few wins together early in the tournament but have struggled to get going in the second half making things hard for themselves. Two of KXIP's highest run-scorers in the tournament (Gayle - 332 and Nair - 246) were back in the pavilion with the team still needing more than 150 to win.

Hence, following the toss, Karthik and his team knew they had found themselves with their backs against the wall and something extraordinary was required to get the result in their favour. One positive is we have never lost a game that's been hands down. That's exactly what he did as Kolkata posted the highest total of IPL 2018, a mammoth 245/6 and defended it comfortably despite another sophisticated assault from KL Rahul, who eventually was removed by Narine.

The most important aspect about this huge batting effort from KKR was the intent shown by their batsmen. The 12th over of the innings was the best one for KXIP as their best bowler Andrew Tye (2/41in 4 overs) got rid of both Narine and Uthappa. Striking at over 200, he raced his way to 75 to give KKR the flawless platform to build upon. However, how much do they leak after the 200-run-mark defines their side's fortunes. For the KKR supporters, it must have been a present surprise that finally, players batted to their potential. Only 20 runs came off them, and two boundaries - both inside-edges past the stumps by Lynn in the very first over. He's taken four more scalps than his nearest competitor and his 4-41 against Kolkata led all comers on the night, taking the wickets of each of the top four for Kolkata.

For the KXIP bowlers, that was the start of the carnage. For the men-in-purple, openers Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine have failed to perform consistently. A loss would have all but ended KKR's campaign.

Kings XI Punjab now occupy the third spot and victory in next couple of games, will see them make it to the play-offs.

The likes of Shubman Gill (16, 8b), Nitish Rana (11, 4b) helped KKR get close to the 250-run mark. This was a clear indication of their positive mindset. He started the season with blistering knocks, even scoring the fastest-fifty in the IPL (51 off 14 balls). Kings XI physio had to attend to the Afghanistan cricketer on the field but then chose to take off the Afghan cricketer. Sunil Narine, who has been stunning as an opener, once again left everyone spellbound with a 36-ball 75 while skipper Dinesh Karthik played an equally significant role with his 23-ball 50. One change for KKR: Tom Curran is out and Javon Searles will take his place.

In a long tournament like IPL, momentum is the key for success.