After limiting PBKS to 123 for nine, Morgan’s men suffer early setbacks in the chase before getting it done with 20 balls to spare
Kolkata Knight Riders came up with a spirited performance when it desperately needed one.
The men from the eastern metropolis had arrived at Ahmedabad after losing their last four matches. On Monday night at the Narendra Modi Stadium against Punjab Kings, they redeemed themselves in some style.
They had to survive some anxious moments, though, before chasing down a modest target of 124. They won with five wickets and 3.2 overs to spare.
It was KKR’s second win at IPL-14, the first having come over a fortnight ago, in its opening fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The way it started its chase, a fifth straight defeat wasn’t entirely out of the question.
KKR lost three wickets inside the first three overs. But just when it seemed as if the batsmen might fail their bowlers, who had given a splendid display earlier in the evening, Eoin Morgan put his hand up.
The captain, who has struggled for runs this season, played a fine innings under pressure. He remained 47 not out (40b, 4×4, 2×6).
It was his fourth wicket stand of 66 with Rahul Tripathi (41, 32b, 7×4) that led his team towards victory.
In dire straits
KKR was in dire straits, at 17 for three, when Morgan joined Tripathi.
Nitish Rana was out off the fourth ball of the innings, hitting a full toss from Moises Henriques to cover, where a grateful Shahrukh Khan dove to his right and took a two-handed catch.
In the next over, Mohammed Shami ensured that Shubman Gill would have to wait longer to return to form, trapping him lbw, the opener missing the line.
Out came Sunil Narine, but KKR’s move didn’t work — thanks largely to a superb catch from Ravi Bishnoi, who covered some distance running from deep mid-wicket and timed his dive to perfection.
Earlier, the KKR attack justified its captain’s decision to bowl first.
It was a disciplined effort from seamers Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna as well as the spin duo of Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine, as they choked the PBKS batsmen.
Cummins provided the breakthrough in the last over of the PowerPlay, with K.L. Rahul — after a six over third-man — skying a catch to a patient Narine at mid-off.
Then Mavi had Chris Gayle caught behind for a golden duck and Prasidh removed Deepak Hooda. It took an 18-ball 30 (1×4, 3×6) from Chris Jordan down the order to lift the asking-rate over six.