Aaron Moores | cricket20
Mahela Jayawardene scored a breathtaking century to help the Kings XI Punjab fight back after Chris Gayle’s onslaught to beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 8 wickets at Eden Gardens.
The Kings XI were set a target of 201 after Gayle launched an astonishing blitz scoring 88 runs as the Knight Riders ran riot against a disappointing Kings XI Punjab bowling attack.
Faced with such a large run chase the Kings XI got off to a positive start thanks to a first wicket partnership of 50 from Mahela Jayawardene and Mavinder Bisla before Murali Kartik struck at the end of the 4th over bowling Bisla (18).
Jayawardene, alongside Kumar Sangakkara continued his excellent innings passing his half century as the Kings XI slowly increased the run rate with the Sri Lankan pair building the foundations of an important contribution.
The partnership allowed the Kings XI to strengthen their chances of recording only their second victory in this years tournament. After the fireworks from Gayle earlier in the day the Eden Gardens crowd become subdued as victory was slowly slipping away fro the home side.
The Knight Riders finally broke the partnership in the 13th over when Sangakkara (38) was caught by David Hussey out on the boundary to give Shane Bond the important break through leaving the Kings XI needing another 52 runs from 38 balls.
After a disappointing tournament so far Jayawardene rediscovered his form just at the right time passing 100 to help the Kings XI record the victory to stun the home side.
The Knight Riders made another solid start with skipper Sourav Ganguly facing most of the strike as he built the foundations of a good opening partnership with Chris Gayle.
Ganguly started off full of confidence after his marvellous innings against the Chargers on Thursday as he attacked Shalabh Srivasyava dispatching him for a four and then a massive six straight down the wicket in the 4th over.
With Ganguly in full flow Gayle was happy to play the supporting role scoring 16 run from 13 balls before Ganguly (36) was caught by Ravi Bopara off his own bowling to end the partnership with contributed 56 runs in the 7th over.
The loss of Ganguly slowed the Knight Riders down as the Kings XI bowlers gained the upper hand strangling Gayle and Manoj Tiwary as the runs dried up.
After 10 overs the Knight Riders were 69-1 but Gayle, who up and until this point had played a quite innings unleashed a brutal blitz which culminated in the West Indian smashing 4 consecutive sixes of the bowling of Bopara in the 12th over.
Gayle reached his half century as Bopara conceded an amazing 33 runs which included 7 extras scored off wides as the Englishman completed the most expensive over in IPL history.
The blitz by Gayle left the Kings XI demoralised as fielding mistakes started to creep into the game with Piyush Chawla the biggest culprit dropping Gayle off his own bowling after the West Indian had smashed another two big sixes earlier in Chawla’s over.
The Kings XI were now leaking runs all around the field conceding 70 runs in just 24 balls with Gayle seemingly on course to score an IPL century until he picked out Bopara at long off as he tried to hit Juan Theron for another towering six.
Although the Kings XI picked up the wicket of Gayle the damaged had already been done to allow Tiwary (35), Angelo Mathews (17) and David Hussey (11) to push the score up to 200-3.