IPL 2018: Narine keeps Kolkata in hunt after defeating Punjab

IPL 2018: Narine keeps Kolkata in hunt after defeating Punjab

This is a crucial match for them as they need to win every game from here on, and also make sure that they push their net run rate into the positive figure, as it had slipped by a huge margin after their loss against Mumbai Indians. The only two overs of spin were delivered by their best bowler, Sunil Narine. Narine picked up important wicket of KL Rahul to turn the match in KKR favour. Another straight six off left-arm spinner Axar Patel (0/52 in 4 overs) and a flurry of boundaries got him to his 50 off 26 balls.

Narine got good support from Robin Uthappa (24) and their 75-run stand for the second wicket ensured KKR built nicely on the 53-run opening stand.

Punjab have lost three of last four matches despite building up momentum. The situation demanded a special performance and Narine returned to form just at the right time. Not even once in their innings did KKR seem like losing steam and it was largely because of the partnerships they kept stringing on their way to 245 - the fourth highest total in the history of IPL.

Strong start by KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. "So we are sticking to the same XI with just one change". The next ball saw Rahul shimmying down the wicket and heaving it over covers for a second successive six.

KXIP have been let down by their batting in recent games.

Sran got a harsh treatment in the 11th over when Narine hit him for two sixes and a boundary. It was only until Rahul's stay at the crease that KXIP would have dreamt of the improbable.

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Rahul has once again scored the maximum runs (66 off 29) for his team.

Vice captain Robin Uthappa will have to come up with an extraordinary show to help his side inch forward along with the misfiring middle order. Dinesh Karthik's batting has risen to the occasion most of the times but what has come under the scanner is his captaincy. Not to forget, the few Gayle blitz too. Rest of the lineup should remain the same.

Where do the teams go from here?

Andrew Tye, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, R Ashwin and Sunil Narine would be the key bowlers for today's battle at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.

KKR too stitched a few wins together early in the tournament but have struggled to get going in the second half making things hard for themselves.

Deflated after a crushing defeat against Mumbai Indians in the previous encounter, Kolkata Knight Riders will be aiming to pick up pieces when they face Kings XI Punjab in an IPL encounter on Saturday.

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