Knight Riders secure rain affected win
Chris Gayle's blitzkrieg fashioned Kolkata Knight Riders' 11-run win against Kings XI Punjab in a rained-marred Indian Premier League match in Durban on Tuesday.
Chasing 159 for their first win of the tournament, the Knight Riders were 79 for one after 9.2 overs when heavens opened up and the Kings XI Punjab found themselves at the receiving end of the rain god's whims for the second time on the trot.
The Mohali side had earlier lost their opening match to the Delhi Daredevils, who chased down a meagre revised target in the rain-affected tie.
Dropped twice, Gayle (44 not out) butchered the Kings XI attack during his 26-ball stay, hitting four sixes and two fours in the process.
Put into bat, the Kings XI Punjab had earlier posted 158 for six in their allotted 20 overs with captain Yuvraj Singh (38), Irfan Pathan (32) and Mahela Jayawardene (31 not out) scoring bulk of the runs at the Kingsmead.
In reply, the Knight Riders' got off to a flying start with Gayle and captain Brendon McCullum (21) imposing themselves on the bowlers.
To make matters worse for themselves, the Mohali side failed to latch on to chances that came their way.
Batting on three, Gayle pulled Yusuf Abdulla but Karan Goel grassed the sitter at mid-wicket. Again on 32, Piyush Chawla's googly kissed Gayle's bat but Kumar Sangakkara could not pouch the ball behind the stumps.
Gayle made them pay heavily for those lapses and hit Irfan Pathan and Andulla for two towering sixes.
Pathan's ordeal was not over yet. Gayle hit the left-arm seamer for back-to-back fours and followed it up with a six and his aggression proved contagious as McCullum followed suit, hitting Abdulla into the crowd.
McCullum greeted Vikramjeet Malik with a four and a six but nicked the next delivery to perish caught behind. But by then, he had added 57 quick runs with Gayle in 5.3 overs.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab got off to a sluggish start before Irfan Pathan (32 off 17 balls) came up with a brisk knock to revive the run rate.
After Pathan's exit, things looked gloomy again for them but Yuvraj's breezy 38 and Mahela Jayawardene's (31) unbeaten 19-ball cameo helped Kings XI cross the 150-mark.
Kings XI found the going tough as Ishant Sharma conceded just one run in his first over and drew first blood in his second when Gayle rose to pouch Karan Goel's (0) slash in the slips.
Promoted to number three, Irfan did justice to the pinch-hitter's role and runs soon started pouring in. The first ball he faced from Ishant scorched the point region grass before crossing the rope and Pathan later heaved the bowler over deep midwicket for a six.
Moises Henriques was also greeted with two fours in his first over before Sourav Ganguly intervened.
Stripped off KKR captaincy, Ganguly was in the thick of action with his military medium pace as he removed Pathan and Ravi Bopara (15) in a space of three balls to peg back the opposition.
Yuvraj went on to add 58 runs with Kumar Sangakkara (26) but just before Yashpal Singh caught a skier off Henriques to remove the Kings XI captain.