An all-round performance from spinner Sunil Narine and a stunning half-century from skipper Gautam Gambhir helped the KKR [Kolkata Knight Riders] defeat the KXIP [Kings XI Punjab] by eight wickets at the Edens Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. The KKR captain struck an unbeaten 72 off 49 balls to lead the home team to an easy victory in their first home game of the IPL [Indian Premier League]. The former Delhi Daredevils batsman gunned down the opposition attack with a blazing innings, helping his team overcome the 171-run target in 16.3 overs. The move to send Sunil Narine (37 off 18 balls) at the top of the order alongside Gautam Gambhir worked blazingly as they crushed 76 off 34 balls to set up a comprehensive win.
Middle-order batsmanManish Pandey finished the game with a six to remain unbeaten on 25 alongside Gambhir after wicket-keeper batsman Robin Uthappa came up with a 26-run cameo.
The victory for KKR came after a painful loss versus Mumbai Indians and they now have two victories from three matches.
It was the first defeats of the season for Punjab after two emphatic victories.
The match was very much in the bag for Kolkata with the flying start they got through the Caribbean Narine, who entertained the Eden crowd by slamming three sixes and four boundaries.
It was also a record comparing 33rd IPL fifty for Gautam Gambhir who now shares the feat with David Warner.
The result proved that Kolkata are a tough side to beat at home and with Thursday's victory, they completed an 11th successful chase on this ground.
Earlier, India fast bowler Umesh Yadav made a successful comeback as his four wickets helped KKR restrict KXIP to 170/9.
Yadav, who missed two games because of a niggle following a hectic Test series versus Australia, struck thrice in his fourth over to cover up for another poor act on the field.