Kings XI Punjab came up with a splendid bowling performance as they defended a modest 132 to defeat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 23 runs and record their fourth successive win in the Indian Premier League 2014 here yesterday.
It wasn't a vintage game of Twenty20 cricket, as none of the batsmen could time the ball on a surface on which the heavyweight batting line-up of Royal Challengers Bangalore had been shot out for 70 in the afternoon.
On a green track with plenty of cracks in it, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir had hoped it would be easier to bat under lights, but his decision to bowl first backfired as the ball jagged around after sunset. Set a seemingly straightforward target of 133, Knight Riders lost wickets regularly and, though Suryakumar Yadav briefly threatened to take the game close, wound up well short.
The pillars of the Knight Riders squad when the teams were revamped in 2011, Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan, continued to have miserable seasons. Gambhir pushed himself down to No. 3 after three zeroes in a row, but nearly had a golden duck again, only for Sandeep to put down a difficult, diving return catch. There was further relief for Gambhir as he got a single to fine leg to score his first run of the tournament, but minutes later he handed a catch to short extra cover.
Earlier, a dejected Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli wants to "forget" the humiliating six-wicket defeat against Rajasthan Royals even though he conceded that poor application was responsible for being shot out for 70 in an IPL encounter here.
"Looks like we didn't arrive on the field today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"It was one of those days that we need to forget quickly. The pressure created by Royals was extended over a long time. When you lose wicket every over, it builds up pressure. When I batted, I felt it was a good wicket, but that's what happens when you lose wickets."
SCORES IN BRIEF
RCB: 70 all out in 15 overs (Kohli 21, Starc 18, Rampaul 13; Tambe 4-20, Richardson 2-18)
RR: 71 for 4 in 13 overs (Watson 24, Rahane 23; Nayar 11 not out; Starc 2-29)
Result: Rajasthan won by 6 wickets.
Player-of-the-match: Pravin Tambe.
Kings XI Punjab: 132 for 9 in 20 overs (Sehwag 37; Chawla 3-16, Narine 3-24)
KKR: 109 all out in 18.2 overs (Suryakumar 34; Sandeep 3-21)
Result: Punjab won by 23 runs
Player-of-the-match: Sandeep Sharma.