The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) got the better of its opposition from a losing position yet again when it beat the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Two days ago, KKR had defeated the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 10 runs in a similar manner while defending 167. It defended 164 this time around, winning by just two runs.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik’s strategy of using his spinners — Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy — late in the 2020 IPL has paid dividends as his side won a second successive game out of nowhere at the same venue.
Against CSK, Narine and Chakravarthy had bowled five out of the last seven overs, conceding 38 runs. In Saturday’s match against KXIP, the Kolkata spin bowlers — Narine, Chakravarthy and Nitish Rana (0/7 in 1 over) — were brilliant in the last 10 overs once more.
Despite the absence of Andre Russell, Narine and Chakravarthy choked out Punjab in the death, with ample support from medium pacer Prasidh Krishna (3/29 in 4 overs) who was drafted in for this outing.
From needing only 22 runs from 18 balls, KXIP was unable to get to the win because Karthik and his reliable bowling line-up held their nerve to bag the two points.