A brisk cameo from South African David Miller was not enough for the Kings XI to prevent 28-run defeat at the hands of the Kolkata Knight Riders in Wednesday’s Indian Premier League fixture at Eden Gardens.
Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss backfired, as Kolkata climbed to a formidable final total of 218 for four.
The hard-hitting Robin Uthappa top-scored en route to 69 not out from 50 deliveries – and sidekick Nitish Rana and West Indian recruit Andre Russell contributed 63 and 48 respectively. Rana and Russell shared a dozen sixes – and faced a combined 41 deliveries for the 111 runs.
Former Proteas fast bowler Hardus Viljoen had earlier removed the dangerous Sunil Narine. Viljoen’s early dismissal of the two-time IPL Player of the Tournament left plenty of pressure on Uthappa, Rana and Russell, but the rest of the Punjab bowling attack failed to capitalise.
Punjab’s chase never gained the momentum required, with Miller’s unbeaten 59 the epitome of too little, too late. A target of 219 was ultimately only met with a failed pursuit of 190 for four.
The result pushed the Knight Riders to first position in the 2019 tournament’s eight-team standings, while the Kings XI slipped from third to fourth.
Thursday will see the Royal Challengers clash with the Mumbai Indians in Bengaluru, while the Sunrisers Hyderabad will host the Rajasthan Royals on Friday.
Photo: SPORTZPICS for BCCI | Ron Gaunt