Kolkata Knight Riders once again are struggling to get things right as they caved in chasing a meagre total against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, pushing them to the mid-table with three defeats in five games.
Kolkata Knight Riders' Yusuf Pathan is bowled out against Kings XI Punjab during their IPL-5 match in Kolkata. PTI/Ashok Bhaumik
An angry skipper Gautam Gambhir let it rip. He not only blasted the batsmen for
their inept display, he has served an ultimatum to the misfiring Yusuf Pathan. “You just can’t justify this defeat,” said Gambhir. “If we can’t chase 135, we don’t deserve to win. The batsmen need to take responsibility, otherwise strong decisions will be taken.”
Gambhir warned Yusuf, who has repeatedly failed this season. On Sunday Pathan was bowled round his legs by leggie Piyush Chawla for a duck. “Pathan is a big match player and needs to deliver. He just can’t play such shots,” fumed Gambhir.
Gambhir refused to blame the wicket for the stuttering chase. “Let’s stop talking about the wicket. I think it was a good T20 wicket and we should have batted well. We need to get back the momentum now.”
It was a tale of two spinners, KKR’s West Indies mystery tweaker Sunil Narine and Kings XI’s Chawla. The Eden Gardens fans shouted their lungs out and a poker-faced Shah Rukh Khan watched the proceedings from his perch till he realised it was not going to be his day after all.
There was prodigious turn and dust kicked off the pitch. Short-leg to spinners? That too was there.
Narine’s heavy toll
The Trinidadian redefined magic bowling and returned with five for 19. He first dismissed rival skipper Adam Gilchrist, who top-edged an attempted swing over mid-wicket. Next one was a beauty. Shaun Marsh, fresh from a 64 against Pune, couldn't read a delivery that spun in and went through the gate. Rajat Bhatia’s double haul in the 17th over was a setback Punjab never looked they would recover from. It was perfect for Narine to go for the kill.
Bipul Sharma’s cynical smile after his dismissal said it all, edging a delivery that almost turned square, to wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla. Praveen Kumar had no idea about a delivery that turned away from him, bounced and straightened to take the top of his off-stump. Harmeet Singh's attempt at spooning Narine gave him his fifth scalp.
Twist to the tale
An outrageous catch by Paras Dogra to dismiss Jacques Kallis was not the most ominous start for KKR. Gambhir hit two boundaries but fell to a sharp catch by Dimitri Mascarenhas. Runs dried up and Manoj Tiwary, along with Bisla, looked set to steady the ship but left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt, the prolilfic Baroda wickettaker, trapped him leg-before.
Piyush Chawla was primed for an upheaval of sorts when he took two wickets in the space of four balls. Scorecard